Authenticity and Influence in Sales

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The other day at a business gathering someone asked me, “Raju, what, according to you, has changed in sales and selling over the decades?” Slightly offended by the inclusion of the word decades in the question I quickly brushed it aside by saying “nothing has changed” and moved on. Late at night, I lay wondering and thinking about my experiments and experiences in selling.

At my first honorary job with my father, which was to run errands and try selling for his small school-bag making business, I’d sell nothing at every interaction. I’d walk into his customer’s shops and stand against the wall; tongue-tied praying the shop-owner would leap out from behind his glass counter and beg me to send him school bags. That never happened. I sold zilch. Dad lost hair worrying about my future as a business person.

At my second job, after making it as an engineer, I was assigned to sales. Sales in the engineering company I worked for meant filling up a large wad of papers with numbers, descriptions and a covering letter called proposals. There were templates to follow, listed prices to tally up but there was barely any people to people interaction. The wheeling, dealing and the closing was done by those big-bellied guys called bosses.

At my third job selling futures in pork-bellies, orange juice, barley, copper and gold my then ‘balikbayan’ boss Ricky Ho saw me suffer at selling and called me aside and said, “Hey Raju, recognize this, people sell for two reasons: one to get rid of something and two to make a profit. What do you want to’ do?” I owned nothing and thus nothing had to be gotten rid of, so I supposed I’d had to make a profit. After that epiphanous moment I learned to sell.  The need to survive taught me how to make cold calls, how to qualify, analyze, integrate, pitch, offer, present, solve, offset objections, sooth, meander, negotiate, upsell, cross-sell, resell, negotiate, close, re-open, serve with maximum subtlety and suaveness.

Thus, decades ago, uh-oh, there is that word decades again. Decades ago, or before the turn of the century, the “ABC” selling was, as Alec Baldwin screamed in the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross, was to “Always Be Closing.” But as the previous century began to wind up entered the ‘internet of things,’ and Alibaba, and explosions of access to all avenues of humongous information. The days of just selling to get rid of something or make a profit out of something began to slowly and steadily began to be replaced by terms like relationship selling, consultative selling, solution selling, ethical sales, selling to serve, selling to solve, selling to not just create value but to co-create value. Sales and selling had merged into resolving needs and serving customer desires. No, it really had moved beyond finding solutions and serving needs. The seller and the buyer had to tear down walls of privacy and secrets between themselves. It wasn’t just one against another but both, together, towards a faster, better and a cheaper world.

Individuals and companies which did not adapt to this reset got covered in cobwebs and then in white sheets. Rest in peace names like Kodak, IBM, Mattel, Tower Records, Sears, etc.

Yet there was a certain element of truth to my response of “nothing” to the question, “Raju, what, according to you, has changed in sales and selling over the decades?”

Yes, the sales environment has changed. Yes, the rules of the game in the marketplace are different. Yes, the tools of the trade are niftier and swifter. Yes, even the attitude has taken a turn and is still transforming for the better. What hasn’t changed is that every transaction whether it is to get rid of something, to make profit out of something or to serve a need and find mutually beneficial solutions is that all of them require trust. Trust, raw and unadulterated trust.

The oldest profession in the world requires a certain element of trust. The used car salesman, no matter how sleazy, requires to become worthy of trust. Ricky Ho my former boss, needed to earn a lot of trust to sell bellies of pork upon which all his big time investors never laid eyes upon. The guy who sells Boeing airplanes to the airlines of all nations needs to acquire trust and so does every other sales and service professional that sits behind a monitor and hacks away at a keyboard to sell unseen products to unmet customers.

The why and the how of earning trust from one to another hasn’t changed and might never change till the end of time.

The prelude into earning trust is authenticity. Here, not just the salesperson but every person and every leader needs not just have an attitude but believe and act out of a hutzpah made out of originality, honesty, openness, courage and vulnerability. A person with that kind of a hutzpah stands out because he stands up and steps in the right direction consistently. He now becomes trustworthy. To earn trust he needs to blend consistency with competence and compassion for the customer, for the stake-holders. Overtime such a leader becomes a champion at earning trust.

The obvious postlude to trust is that your people, your followers, your partners, customers gently and surely move in the right directions that you and them take together. That is influence.

In the coming decades and eons all that we see and hear as innovation, may innovate further, but the backbone of all growth and positive change in sales or any service will always be authentic influence.

Raju Mandhyan

Author, Coach and Trainer

www.mandhyan.com         Unleashing Inherent Excellence!

http://twitter.com/RajuMandhyan

Three Essentials to Authenticity

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Talk about being authentic and, often you will hear this one: “We are in such a hurry to grow up, and then we long for our lost childhood. We make ourselves ill earning money, and then spend all our money on getting well again. We think so much about the future that we neglect the present, and thus experience neither the present nor the future. We live as if we were never going to die, and die as if we had never lived.” By Paulo Coelho

Most all our lives, we desperately struggle to find ourselves. We strive to live, and live out our lives exactly the way we want to but end up creating and living in contradictions. It is not that in the deepest of our hearts we do not know what we want. We do, but adapting and adjusting to a demanding world we let our true selves get corroded, get covered with gunk. Yet from deep within there is that being, that energy and that soul that yearns to fly, to go and grab a fistful of the sky and claim it as how own. 

In the history of mankind there have been a few who have flown so high and so purely in the skies of their own choosing. And, there are almost all of us who for scores of times in our lives have dug a window through that corrosion and that gunk that surrounds and made our presence felt. We have, at times, lived out our dreams and desires loudly and boldly. The question that arises is how do increase the frequency of these liberating moments and sustain them so that at the end of our days we can feel that, hey, I am ready to die because I have lived a full, fruitful and an authentic life. Inspired by an interview, I conducted of Dr. Peter Senge a few years ago, it struck me living an authentic life at work and in society when we:

Step Up: In all circumstances, especially the most challenging ones our options eventually get boiled down to just two. Should we take the well-treaded and safe path or should we step up and take the road less travelled. The roads less travelled, or the right decisions that will make us stand apart and away from others  are always packed with risk but the person who steps up to the calling of his inner voice, scales up the mountains of authenticity. Yes, it takes courage to be authentic. Yes, it takes gumption to stand up, speak up and move towards what your heart, mind and soul tell you are the right things to say and do.

Step In: Daniel Goleman in his book, Focus, talks about how a bunch of preachers-to-be on the road to take up tests in compassion and kindness totally ignore a homeless person on the street asking for help. In their case, it was probably about lack of awareness but often in life, we prefer to stay away from trouble that doesn’t belong to us. In a highly interconnected world most everything does, in a way, belong to us. The other day, someone sent me a video of some folks torching the tongue of street dog. The thought in my mind was why would someone take a video of that and not stop the carnage? Or, when we see others dumping toxic waste and plastic into our rivers why don’t we step in. Stepping in into murky situations, if our conscience calls for it, is the authentic thing to do.

Stand Tall: Dr. Peter Senge in that interview, available on you tube, claims that the eye cannot see the eye. We don’t ever know what the objective reality is because our perceptions, our lenses towards the world are tinted with our biases, our own agendas. Some of these, surely, are unconscious but a large number of those stains on our glasses are of our own making and the cleaner our windows are to the world the better we see it and the taller and prouder we can walk. Coming from clarity and approaching situations conscientiously will allow us to be ourselves, walk and stand tall in a volatile, uncertain, changing and an ambiguous world.  Said once my favorite childhood author, George Bernard Shaw, “Best keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you see the world.”

Authenticity is not just honesty, it is not just being frank and outspoken but being authentic is being true to you inner calling moment after moment. It is about stepping up to challenges, stepping into situations where the right thing needs to be done and also keeping your values and your visions clean.

We live in a world that is constantly changing. We do not have to be the change because every breath we take, every though we think, every word we utter and every action that we take creates change. We do not need to apply force neither do we need to use undue power. We just live out our life with authenticity and gentle influence.

Raju Mandhyan

Author, Coach and Trainer

www.mandhyan.com         Unleashing Inherent Excellence!

http://twitter.com/RajuMandhyan

http://www.mandhyan.com/insights/

http://www.youtube.com/user/RajuMandhyan

 

 

The Subtleties of Authentic Influence©

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TODAY, I complete and count nearly twenty-one years since I entered the world of public and then professional speaking. Within the first year of being part of a very elite group of professionals at the Executive Toastmasters Club of Makati, the club appointed me president.

Surely I’d had some experience in leading teams, building businesses and even being the chief honcho of other business-oriented organizations but I’d never had the experience of being at the helm of a team made of people coming from different walks of life. A group made from diverse backgrounds, and with no material stakes and agenda in the organization except the fact that it was a self-learning volunteer group.

For groups such as this, the leader really has very little assigned power at his disposal and is needed to still drive, succeed, and make the organization flourish.

Towards this end, I thankfully, consider myself to have been blessed to have an amazing mentor and coach in the form of the group’s former president, one Mr. Horacio S. Sese. Nicknamed Rexy, as many people in the Philippines are, he used to hailed as “Sexy Rexy.”

Rexy used to have this amazing way of making me think, visualize, verbalize, and then act and follow through with what was needed, what was productive, and everything that moved the team forward. A team that was loosely gelled, tender, and had haphazard stakes in doing so. I must also add to this that whatever Rexy guided me into doing was also always ethical and in service of others, something bigger than myself.

Though it has been over twenty years since then, here are a few subtleties about Rexy, about Authentic Influence,  and his styles which led me to perform better and grow:

Reputation. In my first few interactions with him, I picked up cues that Rexy knew what he was talking about and doing. Much more important than my own assessment of him almost everyone spoke well of him and looked up at him. This kind of presence and reputation isn’t and wasn’t downloadable from any source but it had been built over the years brick by brick and inch by inch. It was rock solid, dependable, and his reputation always walked into the room way before the person behind it did.

Respect. I was and still am twenty years younger than him. I was and still might be twenty years greener than him in many areas of life and in a world where power is wielded hierarchically; Rexy never let these differences show. For him, in reality, they did not exist and he treated me and all with others with massive courtesy and respect with every little word and every little micro-gesture. He never spoke at me. He did not highlight my lack of experience and know-how. He never disturbed my time without first seeking my permission.

Rapport. You can already guess by the fact that he allowed young and old to address him as “Sexy Rexy,” that he was also a fun and easy-going guy. There was barely any hot air in his hairy head. He had this uncanny ability to meet people in their own way, at their own level and use lightness and respect to win their trust and rapport rapidly. Regardless of how unique, urgent or ambiguous the tasks at hand were, Rexy made it a point to acknowledge and care for the person behind the task, namely me.

Research. This probably is not the precise word for the point I am trying to make but it fits into the theme and the scheme of things. Every time there was work to be done or little tasks that were probably behind time, Rexy’s conversations would start with exploring the background of the tasks at hand. After that he’d explore my thoughts and feelings about the work at hand. Gently, then he used to check if I had the resources and the support. Towards closing the conversation he’d get confirmations in such a way that would make me feel as if I were the lead and as if all the ideas were of my generation and which, in fact, was usually true. In our conversations, his open-minded, exploring way of guidance had me bursting with ideas and intentions to flourish. He never ever delegated. I owned and was accountable for all that I put out.

Request. Now just in case, wherever he had a need and not that I remember him having any, his mode, his demeanor was, always, as if he were making a request. I didn’t know how he did that. I don’t know where and how he acquired such a skill set but it was and still is mind-blowing. Over the years I have tried to imbibe that behavior and that demeanor and I am not sure if I have it. It is is a powerful competency and shall always remain on my wish list of things I want to be. I want to be like Rexy the Sexy.

In a world, today, that has exploded into the virtual domain where people live half their lives stuck to their smartphones and laptops; where social and business interactions thrive in the digital space these five subtleties of Authentic Influence can and will always rule all forms of dealings and interactions.

Your abilities to authentically influence the marketplace and your stakeholders will depend on your reputation, respect for them, rapport with them; your abilities to research their needs and turn your own needs into humble requests will make you social and business leaders who innovate and influence authentically.

On Saturday, the 18th of August, at 9:00AM Philippines, I am running a no fee webinar, please drop by and pick up or add a few things to the subject of Authentic Influence. Here’s the link for signing up:  Authentic Influence© by Raju Mandhyan

 

 

 

Inner Sun

Exposing Yourself through Public Speaking

I masticated a bit over the title of this article but came to a conclusion that, that is what I mean and that is what I have to say. One of the cardinal rules to succeed in public speaking is to say what you mean, and mean what you say. 

May years ago, when I wrote my first ever book on public speaking, the HeART of Public Speaking, I placed on the cover an expensively purchased picture of a man speaking from behind a lectern to a highly engaged, happily laughing audience. The beauty of the picture wasn’t just in the fact that the audience looked extremely engaged, it was in the boldness of the fact that the speaker’s rear silhouette was butt-naked. I had my artist drape a gentle, heart-shaped shawl around the speaker and then the cover went ahead and said exactly what I had laid out inside the book. I loved it and so do those who still own that edition.

To succeed, to shine and scintillate at public speaking, one must do exactly that – expose your true self and then wrap yourself and your presentation with love.

How, you ask?

Well, you might have heard the saying that people would rather be in the coffin than do a eulogy. People fear public speaking more than they fear death. What we really fear is being exposed to scores of eyes that may not just see into us but that they may also see us through our charades. Our true selves might sometimes be timid, pretentious or arrogant. Or, worse scenario, people fear speaking up in the presence of large audiences because our agendas are unethical, and we say what we do not mean and mean what we are not saying. With scores of eyes watching our every move, every micro-gesture, every bead of sweat we can be called out for what we really are and what our true intentions might be. That is the fear.

This, of course, may not be everyone’s reason but the question remains the same – how do we expose our own true selves and yet be covered by a protective heart? Here are certain tips that I have picked up from failing, sweating and dying then coming alive a thousand times when in front of a large group of people.

First, recognize and live out ‘common humanity. Tell yourself that the people out there are people just like you. Some smart and some not so smart, just like yourself. Tell yourself that they, too, have doubts, fears, anxieties, challenges and aspirations in life just as you do. Tell yourself that they are here to hear you no matter how profound or ordinary your spiel for them may be.

Second, generate loving, agape, feeling towards them. Though love resides in the hearts the activation of the desire to offer kindness, compassion and love is a function of the prefrontal cortex. You consciously tell yourself to be kind and loving, then the forty odd million neurons residing in your heart go to work creating love for your audience. When that happens, you radiate kindness, and kindness begets kindness. Sure, there is a chance that there may be one or two thick-skinned, bitter lemon of a person in the room who will continue giving you the heebie-jeebies. Just go on without them, they will eventually turn into sweet lemonade.

Third, according to international speaker par excellence, Scott Friedman, be authentic. What does that mean? It means expose your true self. You don’t have to talk like your college professor or like Chris Rock. Just be yourself. Let your flaws, your stutters, your accent be seen, felt or heard. Let your heart lead you and speak from the heart. If there is something you don’t know or are not sure, say exactly that, “I don’t know that, and I am not sure about that.” That’s okay. You are neither Solomon nor Google.

Fourth, also according to Scott Friedman, be vulnerable. Yes, you do not wear a tight blue suit with a red cape. You were not born on planet Krypton. You can bleed, and you can hurt. Expose all those sides of you that can bleed and hurt. Most people in the audience will relate to you, offer compassion and a much kinder ear if you pretend not to be a flawless, man of steel. Should the thick-skinned, bitter lemon hurl a rotten egg at you, say “Ouch!” and then right away forgive her for she knows not what she does. She knows not that you are human too. Keep doing the right thing and keep creating value with your words.

Fifth,  is to become good at being light and funny as a speaker. Laughter is the shortest distance between two hearts, and humor is the vehicle that will drive you there. Some people are naturally funny, and others can get there through practice at public speaking. ‘Neuro-plasticity’, you know! The more you do something, the more you become that – in this case, funny. Just make sure to make yourself the butt of all your jokes otherwise, the thick-skinned, bitter lemon will stare you down to your death. Or, better still take up lessons from ‘the HeART of HUMOR.’

There!

Of course there is a lot more to public speaking. There is this fact that speaking in public is about, as I have already said, creating good value. It is about inspiring people, and about leading them to a new and a better place in their lives. You can do it. Yes, you can because the brilliance and wish to shine is in all of us. It is in all of us to help, love and cherish all those that surround us but, first, we need to have the gumption to expose ourselves, our true selves.

I never let many copies of my first book, first edition, circulate in the marketplace because I was afraid. I was afraid that the cover was too brash, and it would scare away the conservatives. The thing is even though I’d written all about being brave, about being kind, authentic and open; I wasn’t brave, I was still a newbie to expressing myself courageously. Yes!

To wrap up, let me caution you away from that saying where public speaking gurus will tell you that to overcome your fear, you should imagine all your audience butt-naked. That, to me, is utter nonsense. Baloney! It is bound to scare the bananas out of you and sink you into the ground. It is best to, not just imagine, but be in your spiritual birthday suit when speaking in public. It is best to expose yourself as you are, bare your soul and your audiences will lift you up into the heavens. Have fun!

Check out my books, blogs and videos on Amazon/Raju Mandhyan.

 

 

Have You Ever Wrestled with Humor?

I bet you have more than once struggled and wrestled with humor.

You know it is important. You know as a trainer, speaker or a business leader it breaks ice, increases engagement and many a times earns you trust. Yet, at times it can pin you down and have you tapping on the floor to surrender and give up.

I know this. I have been there. There are times I’ve had the crowds rolling on the floor with laughter and then there are times that I have wanted to lie down on the floor and die.

Humor and pain like comedy and tragedy have subtle similarities. At the root level, these are both essentially the same. A person who has suffered great pain and tragedy in life also has the ability to transcend from it and convert it to comedy.

If you look through the history of those who have made the world laugh, you will note that they did, indeed, suffer great sorrow and pain before discovering laughter.

The bard, Shakespeare, created immortal masterpieces of drama but lived a personal life wrought in longing and loneliness. His every work is a constant dance between the tragic and the comic.

Charlie Chaplin, the lovable champ, grew up in a world surrounded by poverty and Dickensian angst; almost all of his movies depict scenes of glee and sadness sublimely mixed and exaggerated for theatrical effect.

The legendary Doctor Patch Adams, who proved to the world that, indeed, laughter is the best medicine, lived a life of hardship and struggle, until and even after he acquired a medical degree. His patients loved his clowning and humor because they knew that behind the facade, he deeply understood, felt and also shared their pain.

Now, as a business leader, when it comes to generating laughter if you have been to where I have and want to be more careful and funny at the same time here are some humble tips from my book, the HeART of HUMOR;

  • Know your pain, understand your pain and then recognize the human in you and let go of the pain through laughter and play. Transcend it.
  • Know the possible pains of your audiences and, gently, help them see a different and a lighter perspective of life. Do not play down their suffering but poke fun at your own and they will heal and laugh.
  • Have love and compassion for your audiences and your people. Love will lighten your spirits and hold you in a joyful state. Your audience will read and mirror your attitude and behavior. Laughter and lightness will become a natural by product.
  • Stay rooted to the ground by choosing your stories and words with care and caution. The world has becoming increasingly sensitive and demands political correctness. Stay away from making fun of caste, color and creed. Stay away from gender-related humor. If there is anyone that you need to make fun of then make fun of yourself. If you fail at being funny then they will laugh at your attempts and you will have still accomplished your goal.
  • Humor is about timing and absolute precision. The same joke that was great at meeting one may be a total flop at meeting two. The best humor is situational, quick and clean.

Lastly, yes, do try all your stuff at home. Good and funny stories after a few rounds of practice mature and ripen over time. You do notice that the previous tip, somehow, contradicts this tip. When you are able to strike a balance between then you can call yourself a professional humor wrestler.

So those are a few insights and tips on wrestling with humor. If you’d like to get some coaching into being funny then come join me for a session of “the HeART of HUMOR,” in Singapore on the 26th of April, 2018.

Together, we will peel apart the wraps of humor in speaking. We will dig deep into the sciences behind stand-up comedy; we will look into improvisation, stage acting, and storytelling and then practice methods that will become more than relevant to generating laughter, engagement and rapport in business scenarios.

Remember, when you wrestle with humor and lose, you still win because the joke is on you.

Click here to learn more and sign up. The HeART of HUMOR Workshop

Enjoy!

 

The Link Between Laughter and Tears

“Humor and pain, like comedy and tragedy, have subtle similarities. At the basic level, they are essentially the same. A person who has suffered great pain and tragedy in life also has the ability to transcend it and convert it into comedy. If you look at the history of those who have made the world laugh, you will note that they did, indeed, suffer great sorrow and pain before discovering laughter. Shakespeare created immortal masterpieces of literature but lived a personal life wrought with longing and loneliness. His every work is a constant dance between the tragic and the comic. The legendary Doctor Patch Adams, who proved to the world that, indeed, laughter is the best medicine, lived a life of hardship and struggle. His patients loved his humor because they knew that behind the façade, he understood and deeply shared their pain.

InSights on InSights

InSights on InSights

A few years ago, NBC held a prime time talent contest called Last Comic Standing, where Dat Phan, a young Vietnamese-American became the champion and attained instant stardom. Today, he lives his dream of making a living while making others laugh. As a kid, he and his mother lived on the streets of San Diego and slept on bus stop benches. Growing up, he worked as a waiter, a busboy, and a doorman at a casino and a comedy club. Phan is not hampered by his past experiences. His hardships have become an integral part of his humor, as has his upbringing in a poor cross-cultural family. “I do whatever it takes to do stand-up,” Phan said in an interview. “There is an abundance of material in struggling and poverty and trying to make it. There is so much humor in that, it’s unlimited. You have to be able to see it. You have to be very creative. In the beginning, I didn’t do real well, I bombed dozens of times. Something sick inside told me to keep on trying because I had nothing to lose. I kept exposing myself to different audiences. I kept bombing and failing and being disappointed until I got just one laugh. And that laugh gave me encouragement to continue and pursue a career and a skill that makes others happy. The pain of my past has been my driving force and I believe that no matter how hopeless it seems there is always something to look forward to. In life, you can get to the next level if you’re willing to give up everything and give everything you have in your heart to make it!” says Dat Phan.

Kahlil Gibran rightly said: “The selfsame source from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.” Very often when we are laughing uncontrollably, we find tears streaming down our faces. And, quite as often, after we’ve expressed our pain through crying, we find ourselves laughing joyfully. Both laughing and crying provide cathartic cleansing. Our facial expressions also mirror this kinship. That’s why, at times, it’s hard to determine if one is crying or laughing. Somewhere in the depths of our souls and somewhere in the recesses of our limbic brains, laughing and crying are separated by a very thin line, just as comedy and tragedy are.”

When speakers, trainers and other facilitators play hopscotch over this fine line that divides comedy and tragedy using personal anecdotes and situational humor they create rapid rapport with their audiences and transfer new learning deeply and powerfully.

To make being funny a part of your skill sets, come look me up in April in Singapore, I am running a one-day workshop where you will not just know the science behind humor but you master a few techniques to consistently employ humor in most all of your interactions.

 

 

 

Mind Mapping 101

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Freud On Humor

Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud has a take on humor that stresses that our attitude towards life needs to be funny. Freud believed that as we grow, the dreary grind of life and the entrapments of rationalizing all that exists make us slowly cheat ourselves of the inner child within us. Thus, our lust for humor, laughter, and life are also desires to reclaim the lost pleasures of childhood. When we were children, no effort was needed to bring laughter into our lives. We had no need for canned jokes, stand-up comedy, or anything else. We laughed at everything and we did so for sheer pleasure.

Tales and Techniques to a Funnier You!

To be funny requires that, at the start of every single day, we loosen our girdles, de-starch our collars, let loose our hair, twirl our mustaches, and get down from our high horses of authority and pretentiousness. It is possible for each one of us to be funny, but we must also develop a deep, burning intention to be funny.

Having the intention to be humorous is the first step in mastering humor. Your intention is the driving force that will enable you to practice the different techniques that will result to a funnier you. Every artistic expression and every talent demands constant practice. Methods and disciplines have to be followed to convert a technique into habit, and eventually, into a vital part of your personality.

The late Robin Williams in his early days would barhop in search of work. While performing, Robin used to appear completely natural and extemporaneous, but backstage before the show, he’d tell his director or manager all the steps he was planning to do. All his apparent talent, besides being natural to him, was also in fact method, practice, and determination!

In one of my creativity workshops, a participant shared a story about this monk who entered a monastery with a desire to achieve higher consciousness and enlightenment. But, being a well-educated urbanite, the wannabe monk saw no relation between higher consciousness and the wearing of an orange garb and the shaving of his head. Thus, he chose not to follow the seemingly superficial methods towards attaining elevated consciousness.

Years went by without him wearing the orange garb, though he meticulously studied and practiced the Buddhist principles. Decades later, older and still restless, he found himself nowhere near higher consciousness and enlightenment. Finally, out of sheer frustration, he had his head shaved and put on the orange garb. Suddenly, he was literally enlightened: his body glowed, his spirits soared, and every cell in his being was filled with wisdom and profound spirituality. He attained the kind of spiritual awareness and enlightenment he had been seeking all his life. The heavens seemingly opened up for him and he felt as if he were reborn. But suddenly, in the next instant, he collapsed and died on the spot.

Mastering creativity and humor is just like that—you will never know when the brilliant light will shine upon you. It will daze and dazzle you as you move towards it when you study the theories, beliefs, and techniques. But it definitely requires an intense desire to succeed and a severe dedication to attaining that success.

 

Link to my books on Amazon: http://goo.gl/OZSMj8

Link to my videos on YouTube: https://goo.gl/dVclfm

Links to upcoming events in your neck of woods:

Choice Clips from ExPat InSights:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjf3sHaZBSo

 

 

Subtle Influence, a teacher’s story.

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Growing up in India, I went to a Zoroastrian School.  It was a good school and as with most schools, it had all kinds of teachers.

Some were nice and some not so nice.  Some were passionate about their work and some regarded their work as just a job.

I remember them all, the stuff they taught us and the way they taught us.  As I now train, facilitate and coach others in personal and organizational development, the subject of learning and the quality of learning transfer often comes up.

Of them all a teacher called D.N. Irani at the Sardar Dastur Hoshang Boys’ High School, stands out and apart in my memory.

D.N. Irani had a remarkable way of teaching, behaving and carrying himself when he traversed the corridors of the school.  He was tall and lanky, with very little fat on his body. He wore his salt-and-pepper hair closely cropped and was always clean shaven.  He was about the size and shape of Clint Eastwood, as Clint Eastwood looked in his fifties.  In a light blue short sleeved, bush shirt with khaki chinos and soft brown leather sandals he seemed to serenely glide from the classrooms to the library and the to the faculty room.

When approached in the corridors or in class D.N. Irani never seen seemed hurried or tense; he always heard everyone out fully before he responded.  No sounds, no momentary movement or novelty in his surrounding would make D.N. Irani flinch.  He remembered faces and the conversations he had with those faces even if all the faces of the boys in a highly populated Indian school looked much alike.  In this school with its reputation of toughness, D.N. Irani walked tall and spoke slowly but always carried a big chunk of subtle influence.  The boys would part in the hallways to let him pass, like Moses’ Red Sea, although nothing in his attitude or behavior demanded such from the boys.

Whenever other teachers or even the school head master was faced with a hooligan crowd in class they would always send for D.N. Irani to come and restore peace.  And D.N. Irani never failed at quieting down a class simply by turning up and planting himself in silence. In the middle of all storms his mere presence would, somehow, make everyone see the bright and beautiful side.

What is it that D. N. Irani did for him to be so respected and revered in the tough Sardar Dastur Hoshang all-Boys High School?

D. N. Irani had presence. He was grounded and totally at ease with himself. When he looked at you, he saw all of you, in appearance and in demeanour. When he listened to you, he heard everything you said and everything else you made the effort to tell him.  He rarely interrupted and did not jump to conclusions while watching and listening to you.  He never passed judgment about people and their issues until he had gotten maximum information. He was never hasty or mad about expressing his point of view.  And when spoke,  his expressions and opinions were unequivocal and stated in simple, direct language with a mellow tone to his voice.  Even when his statements  were not in your favor, you always felt he gave due respect  to your individuality and humanity.

Today as I look back, I am more and more convinced D.N. Irani’s sense of seeing, hearing and kinaesthesia (which is feeling, touching and smelling) were razor sharp. He cognitively and deliberately made efforts to always keep his senses alert, alive and empathetic.

You see, everything we are, think and do is devised, developed and deployed by our five senses. Researches and scientists talk about genetics–our DNA and our traits–as codes in our birth cells  transferred from our parents.  These codes may be in chemical or energy form but they’re all accessible and recognizable through appearances, sounds and behavior. They are also referred to as visual, auditory and kinaesthetic codes.

Everything we learned from the time our mothers conceived, carried  and nurtured us has been  written and is stored in our brains using these codes. From our formative years through our youth, and into our adulthood, everything we learn and everyone we interact with happens through the function of our five senses.  Our knowledge, values, principles and belief are all stored in our memories.  An inventory of this storage is maintained in the format of our five senses and a combination of these five senses.

In his classic book, How to Think like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michael Gelb talks about Arte/Scienza – the art and science of improving the quality of our thinking.  Michael Gelb suggests we improve vision by studying art, landscapes and beautiful sights. He recommends   listening to classical music, sounds of nature, inspiring speeches and creative stories to sharpen our sense of hearing and our minds.  To improve our sense of taste, smell and touch, he encourages activities that alternatingly  soothe and  stretch these senses, thus strengthening and sharpening them.

Stronger and sharper senses improve our ability to think and we become more aware and sensitive to other people and to our surroundings; therefore, improving our ability to interact with our world.

Individuals like my former teacher, D.N. Irani, knew this at an  intuitive and  cognitive level.  Perhaps they had no chance to explain these paradigms they lived by, but they became living examples of this acute awareness and practice.

Here are five practices to enhance your sensory acuities, heighten  your awareness and improve your ability to live in the moment;

  • Start with a clean state of mind. If any recent visual, auditory or kinaesthetic experience is on your mind–perhaps an unappealing sight you have just witnessed, a song humming in the back of your mind or the scent of pungent food- then consciously let go of the experience using the Reasoning Brain. Let it all be erased from the desktop of your mind.
  • Enhance visual acuity. Whenever you see an object delve a  bit more on its shape, size, and color. Think of it as visually studying something in detail. This works equally well when observing  human facial expressions.
  • Enhance auditory acuity. Listen to music and  distinguish the sounds of the different instruments involved. Make an effort to mentally dissect the high notes and the low notes of the   This works equally well when listening to another person. Listen for pitch, power, percussion, pauses and the parlance. It’ll help you better discern messages they may not be actually verbalizing.
  • Enhance your kinaesthetic acuity. When for example, you carry a puppy, feel his weight, his fur, his nails, his bones and all the features th

    Subtle Selling Strategies from the Neurosciences and Neuropsychology

    at make up a puppy. Feel his body temperature, the moisture or the coarseness of his fur. Pay attention to his smell and breathing. Note how of all this impact your thinking and feeling towards the puppy. This also works well when you are in the presence of another person. Take note of their presence, their skin, their scent and how all this impacts your feelings and opinions about this person. You might have heard the statement, “there’s something fishy about him.” It doesn’t mean he smells like a fish. It means his presence, behaviour, and communication gives you an uneasy, suspicious feeling.

  • Integrate the data gathered from all sensory inputs when dealing with others. When talking to strangers, notice how their appearance and the quality of their voice make an impact on you.  Observe how their scent influences your impressions. Integrate data from all these sources, but be aware the impact on you does not truly represent them. Gather all this data and then let the Reasoning Brain investigate them objectively.

Enhancing sensory acuity is firstly, about becoming conscious of all the inputs and noting their impact on our three brains and secondly, about cognitively segregating the useful from the non-useful data. Sensory acuity can store up good knowledge and wisdom in the triune brain. High quality cognitive knowledge and empathetic wisdom will turn us into D.N.Irani, a person of subtle influence and power.

Taken from book, the HeART of the CLOSE, available at Amazon

Inner Sun

Trust in Spades: How to Give, Gain and Build

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Trust: How to give, gain and build it over time has been a challenge that scores of leaders struggle with at work and in life. In a world filled with strife, struggle for survival and fear of the unknown trust is a rare commodity and the only currency that can procure us progressive, productive workplaces and, probably, a more peaceful world.

The perennial queries have been:

How much can I trust her?

Why should I trust him?

Are they a trustworthy kind?

How do I make them believe in me?

How do we sustain this relationship over time and changing circumstances?

Now, usually, the answers to many of our work-life challenges lie in intricacies of our languages. So, it helps to look at what exactly is the meaning and maybe the etymology of the word trust is.

By the dictionary, trust is a noun which means “a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something,” or trust is a verb which means “to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” The key words stressed here are ability, reliability and strength. Likewise distant synonyms of the word trust are confidence, expectation and dependence.

Robert Kegan, in his book Immunity to Change, provides a workable formula to buy, build and grow trust in reflection and in response to the noun and the verb “trust.” Trust, he claims is the sum of an entity’s credibility, consistency and care for another entity and is inversely proportional to its’ own self-focus.

                                 ___CREDIBILITY + CONSISTENCY + CARE___

TRUST       =            ______________________________________

                                                                 SELF-FOCUS         

Credibility lies in your past performance but is depended upon today. It takes time to build and is built (Video) step by step. Everything you have done and are dong gets imprinted upon some memory and is tapped into again and again.

Consistency, across changing circumstances and times, is a matter of strategy, will and beliefs. As any manager or even a family head, you need to make efforts to become the person to go to. A certain amount of rock steadiness is needed of you to buy and build trust.

Care is the outcome of cognitive and affective empathy and compassion for others. We all have needs, weaknesses and thankfully, a consciousness too. As we all need care and compassion, a leader needs to make conscious, cognitive efforts to understand, feel and offer support to others.

The downside and the scary side of this denominator is that if all three elements are active and are performed with an objective to win brownie points or to serve an agenda other than the agenda of the person across you or an agenda that is not mutually beneficial than the trust equation collapses-drastically.

A few years ago while hosting an event I had the good fortune of spending a private moment with Tony Meloto, the founder and lead behind Gawad Kalinga of the Philippines. Gawad Kalinga, a very successful community building organization, is our version of Habitat for Humanity in the Philippines.

“Tony” I asked, “Gawad Kalinga is receiving so much funding and hundreds of volunteers are pouring in to help, do you not have security and trust issues with all these newcomers and walk in supporters?”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Don’t you have pilferage, conflict, personality conflicts and trust issues?”

“Ah, I know what you are implying! I have a straightforward philosophy and an approach to it. When volunteers come in, we take them for their word and trust their intentions to be good. We load them with responsibilities right away___without doubt, without malice. And, all these years this approach has worked and I feel that is one of the secrets behind our success.”

“Hmmm, wow!”

“Yes, wow is right, we hand out trust in spades, right away, and usually get it back in wheelbarrows,” he smiled.

I was and still am ashamed to have been coming from a sense of lack but I am glad I asked that question that day.

The first step of the formula to gain trust, today for me, is to give trust to the credibility, the competencies and the compassion levels in all my partners and colleagues. It is to set aside all my doubts and biases and take people’s word for what they can do and what they state their goals to be. It is to approach people with a judgement of charity and graciousness. Yes, surely, people can let you down but if I start with assumption that they can let me down then I haven’t really started anything have I?

The second step to build and accumulate trust in myself, across time, from my partners and teams is really do well what I am responsible and for what I am qualified and appointed for. My job description could be general or specific but I must focus on becoming the person to go for those needs by my partners. I must follow this habit of making effort of being he best I can be with a long-term consistency. I cannot build a reputation or a resume by being efficient and productive sporadically, I must be consistent across changing circumstances and times.

The third habit, not just a step, is to approach people with compassion and kindness regardless of what our work-life scenarios and our backgrounds call. In the Philippines, we uphold a value called “kapwa tao.” This means to regard all people as human beings and kindred spirits and to do unto them as you would have them do unto you.

The fourth habit is to deliberately and diligently reflect upon why you think, say and do what you think, say and do. Reflect upon your agendas and your true purposes. Run your intentions through the test of fire. If your thoughts, words and actions benefit you more than they benefit others than the previous three steps will never gain you anything, ever. People study and measure your words and actions to assess your true intentions all the time and the only way to clean up your true intentions is to really and truly clean them up.

That is how to Give, Gain and Build Mountains of Trust for yourself and within your communities.

Video on Trust

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