Join my personal development blog mailing list

The scripts we live

Conflicts in professional relationships are part and parcel of organisational life. At one level, conflicts seem inherent within the complexity that characterises organisational teams. But, at another level, perhaps these conflicts are more frequent and long-lived...

read more

Searching for normality

Most of us have encountered the "normality" question in some shape or form at some point in our lives. Perhaps, it was to do with not being normal enough, perhaps it was around wanting to be different. Some strive towards normality, others strive to avoid it. But, is...

read more

Looking for success within

There is a danger that in our culture today we might define ourselves by external benchmarks of what success should look like. By the accolades, status and wealth we accumulate. The force of such influences in your life might be so strong that they lead you to derive...

read more

As above, so below

When faced with difficulties within an organisational team or with a particular individual, you may be tempted to look for the cause where the symptom appears. You have to remember though that often problems have a wider context. You have to consider that the...

read more

That dress is not for cycling in

"That dress is not designed for cycling in" shouted an adult minding a little girl who had decided to have a go on a bicycle in the park. And her response, "I know", as she confidently rode on, was just perfect. I chuckled to myself as I walked by, but what I...

read more

Knowing your emotional triggers

We are all emotionally activated and agitated by different things and to different degrees. For some, it might be noticing arrogance, for others it might be hearing a particular tone of voice. And, sometimes your trigger might even be something seemingly mundane, such...

read more

The winner’s curse

It sometimes happens that the better you are at your job, the less-and-less time you seem to have. The more effectively you execute your duties, the more you are called upon to do even more. It is truly the winner's curse. More and more Clients, bosses and colleagues...

read more

When to use a coach

The question of "when to use an executive coach" can seem tricky at first glance. It is also one that attracts numerous confusing explanations. Today, I offer three considerations: stuckness, willingness and importance, which provide a simple framework for answering...

read more

Sometimes, we need to rock the boat

We are often told not to rock the boat. To let sleeping dogs lie. And, behind such words usually lies the belief that disruption is bad and that nothing good will ever come out of upheaval. So, you might begin to fear disruption even when it is integral to creating...

read more

Know thyself…or so it is said

This old adage has been doing the rounds for a very very long time. But, what do we really make of this idea — to "know thyself". What are we really trying to know? The what Know thyself could be read as a well intended piece of ancient wisdom around generally...

read more

Everyone is a person

The pressures of modern work life can sometimes cause you to reduce people to numbers. To reduce your customers, colleagues and stakeholders to faceless entities. You may forget that actually everyone is a person. Anonymity The pressure to get financial results can...

read more

It’s usually not just one thing

When faced with something that needs explaining, it's very tempting to search for that one cause that is the answer. That one person you can blame or praise — the hero or villain. Things are rarely that simple, particularly when human beings are involved. And more...

read more

A better discourse

At a time when soundbites and dumbed down messages are the norm, taking shortcuts becomes very tempting. Rather than look deeper, you might settle for skimming the surface. Rather than present a nuanced view, you might find it easier to provide a less accurate...

read more

The slippery slope of perfectionism

Perfectionism is one of those ideas that has come to mean different things to different people. Some view it as a character trait that is the basis for excellence, others view it as the crippling voice of doubt and anxiety. And, both are true, because both are...

read more

Meeting people where they are

Sometimes we can feel like we've not made ourselves clear enough or that our message was not heard, and at times this can result from not meeting people where they are. While you can always bring more clarity to what you are saying, remember that those you are...

read more

On expectations

The expectations we have in our personal and professional relationships can often become the source of conflict and discontent. We may 'expect' things from other people and when these expectations are not met, we are disappointed. Understanding expectations Not having...

read more

Enabling high functioning teams

What makes high functioning teams? To answer this question, we first need to recognise what we are dealing with at a very basic level — human beings who have come together from varied walks of life to form a relationship system. A system of interacting and...

read more

Integrating the past

The desire to set objectives, design strategies and move forward is a familiar feature of modern living. From personal initiatives to organisational targets, the focus is very much on the future. The past is so often forgotten or brushed over because our sights are...

read more

The duality of knowing

There is a big difference between theory and practice. Words and action. Regurgitating from memory and deep understanding. How we "know" things matters. Rationally and intellectually appreciating something is not the same as deep knowing with every fabric of your...

read more

Just because it’s offered

I was on the London underground this afternoon and noticed how so many people read unsavoury tabloid newspapers just because they are handed out free.  It made me think of how we can so easily lapse into passivity in different areas in our lives. We don't always have...

read more

The perfect way to say thank you is..

I noticed those words on a sign as I walked past a gift shop earlier today and it made me think. The perfect way to say "thank you" is to just say "thank you". And, mean it. Gestures and gifts are a wonderful way of showing someone that we care for and value them....

read more

Is it a smoke screen?

The use of distractions and diversion tactics is unfortunately common place in politics and in business. Designed to disguise what is really going on, such smoke screens aim to deceive and mislead. While it is one thing to be misled by politicians and unscrupulous...

read more

The worst case scenario

Thinking of the worst case scenario is often a natural part of planning a new initiative. What could go wrong? How bad will it be? Certainly useful questions. The problems arise when we get stuck in the worst case scenario and lose sight of the bigger picture. Stuck...

read more

Don’t waste your ideas

If you want to bounce new ideas off someone find a person who is genuinely willing to engage. Someone who gets you and what you are trying to do. Otherwise new ideas can end up like seeds that do not grow due to lack of attention. The right people You may have...

read more

I forgot I had my shades on

I was meeting a friend yesterday and looking for a particular coffee shop. Twice, I walked past what looked like a not-in-use building where the cafe was supposed to be. Feeling lost, I was about to telephone my friend but happened to take my sun glasses off at that...

read more

Noticing tension

My music coach often reminds me that physical tension when playing is usually a sign of mental tension. The same can be true of life more generally, particularly when we are faced with new challenges or problems. Creeping up The unfamiliarity of a particular situation...

read more

Know your USP

The question of USP is usually quite apparent when dealing with a physical product or a commoditised service. Identifying a USP can however be more elusive when you are the "product". By this I mean being involved in creating and offering something that has your...

read more

The price you pay

Sometimes we are faced with important life choices: Stay or leave, continue or re-strategise, speak up or stay silent, be courageous or not. Often, we think of reasons not to deviate from where we currently are, but what tends to get forgotten is the price that you...

read more

Are you hiding behind your business card?

The question of skill is fundamental to how we feel about what we do. Skill takes time to develop and is often the result of a deep interest in something that draws us further. When we have the opportunity to benefit from the halo effect of an established brand...

read more

Shame in disguise: A tale of parents and children

Being a parent is a tremendous responsibility by any measure and one that involves love and care. There is a danger however that parents may sometimes put a lot of pressure on their children. And, this pressure can at times be the unconscious result of shame parents...

read more

What works for you?

We seem to be obsessed with emulating the habits and rituals of so called 'successful' people in our culture today. Leaving aside the obvious errors of not accounting for survival bias, coincidence and luck, there is no particular reason to assume that what worked for...

read more

Give yourself a chance

People can change and do change. Adaptability is one of the defining features of our species and it is this supreme adaptability that creates the possibility of significant personal change. Reframing for possibility I see people grow and change time and time again in...

read more

But, what meaning does it carry for you?

Sometimes, we say that we need to do or be certain things. We might say we want to be more "confident", "productive" or "successful", for example. Each of these words will have a certain meaning, but what meaning does it carry for you? Overused words It is easy for us...

read more

Show me the money!

Some of you will remember that comical moment in the movie Jerry Maguire when Rod repeatedly shouts "Show me the money, Jerry! Show me the money". Seeing Jerry Maguire again made me think about how the tendency to equate earning power with self-worth is still endemic...

read more

May be it’s time to slow down

We are increasingly feeling the effects of our technology augmented fast paced lifestyles. Anxiety and mental health problems are on the rise and all this despite the so called 'progress' we are making. We seem to be in such a rush that perhaps it is time to slow...

read more

Understanding their truth

Only you can have a full and complete picture of your truth; what you are feeling, what you are experiencing, the journey that you have been on. The same is true for everyone else. They will each hold their own truth. Courage to understand No matter how much you might...

read more

How to choose a life coach

Working with an executive or life coach could be one of the most important decisions you make. Taking the time to find the right life coach for you is then crucial. Here are a few things to consider during your search. How important is the issue? Whatever question or...

read more

Getting out of the chair in coaching

Most traditional office environments revolve around a seated, desk-based approach to work. The same is true of coaching. As an executive and life coach, experience has shown that getting out of the chair to move beyond just sitting and talking can be incredibly...

read more

Defaulting to the status quo

One of the main reasons why change is so difficult is the allure of what is known. The comfort of the tried and tested — the safety of defaulting to the status quo. Loss Aversion What underlies this is our human tendency to be loss averse. In short, we are afraid to...

read more

Us and them

The feeling of us and them is something that pervades all of human life. Whether you are standing in a queue at the postoffice collectively tutting at how slowly it is moving, or supporting your country at a sporting event, the distinction between us and them is at...

read more

Less is more, sometimes

There will sometimes be situations when we feel like we have not done enough or demonstrably added value. On these occasions, it is useful to remember that sometimes, less is more. Feeling the need We have to be able to distinguish between the ego's need to feel like...

read more

Taking responsibility

Taking responsibility for our choices and our actions is one of the most empowering things we can do for ourselves.  We can sometimes get so bogged down in pointing the finger at the world that we forget to ask, "What am I doing that is stopping me from pursuing what...

read more

The art of being concise

Rambling on in speech or in prose is never pleasant. As listeners, we crave for people to get to the point. And, as speakers, we crave the ability to offer them just that. Being concise is an art. It involves the ability to distill the essence of anything into simple...

read more

Year end reviews: Can we do better?

Many of you have probably just been through year end reviews. It is that moment when shoulders drop, sighs are let out and heads sag at the prospect of completing, collating and delivering feedback. Having been privy to numerous year end review processes, it is fair...

read more

Change: Reversion to the mean

We are barely into 2017 and personal change initiatives are already losing steam. I've noticed the new year fitness group in the park already beginning to lose people. New habits take time to develop and supporting ourselves during this process is vital. Otherwise, we...

read more

The question is not what should I do, but…

Making important life decisions can be tricky. The question to ask yourself in these situations is not what SHOULD I do, but what do I WANT to do? Identifying the 'should' The appearance of should in important questions betrays the impact of social pressure and...

read more

In between time

It's that odd period between Christmas and new year when everything is a bit slow. The in between time with fewer meetings, emails and telephone calls. What an opportunity this is to take a step back and consider what's important to you. Using the in between time Too...

read more

There will always be naysayers

We like to predict the future based on what we already know and what we have experienced. This means that there will always be naysayers to challenge anything that is new and unknown. Indeed in some cases, often in the short-term, history may be the best predictor of...

read more
Subscribe to Harsha’s personal development blog