Subba’s Serendipitous moments

September 20, 2009

How to find meaning?

Last week as I was involved in a deep discussion with a good friend of mine, (I also happened to coach him in a difficult professional transition) I had an epiphany. He asked me whether I found the meaning of life.

The question was sudden without any preamble and as he looked deeply in my eyes, I discovered that I have been in a similar quest perhaps all my life. I only don’t know whether I have finished finding the meaning of my own existence.

Meaning is not something that you find as you normally try to find a location in a map. It is not something that you look for as you would for an item in a supermarket.

It is something that one has to build in one’s life. The elements to build it is already there in one’s consciousness. It is built out of one’s own past, out of one’s own talent and aspirations for oneself. It is based on the values that one has developed and what one stand for. It is based on the things that one believes in and out of the things that one cares about in a deep sense.

Now, each of us have to take the elements and combine that into a unique pattern that will resonate with oneself. The discovery of that unique pattern could take years. Once discovered, it becomes precious.

Meaning guides a person and sometimes becomes the raison d’être for one’s existence. It is nourishing and provides the dignity to one’s life.

I also discovered a strange connection between the outcomes of events and the meaning of life. A material success which doesn’t resonate with the meaning in one’s life seems hollow, superficial and doesn’t give much joy. A success that’s congruent with one’s meaning in life gives fulfillment.

Has anyone else found meaning of life? How did you all find it?

I would be curious to know.

August 3, 2009

Be yourself

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” — Chinese proverb.

I can’t think of a more simple, yet a deep truth. I was discussing my earlier blog post with 2 of my friends. Both believed that to be successful one should adapt, which means constantly changing oneself to circumstances. And if one has to change, one has to let go one’s true self. I will write my response to their observations in a separate post, but for now, I just want to do a follow up post which hopefully should clarify my stance.

I think most of us have a tendency to sell ourselves in situations even when we faintly perceive that we are being evaluated or judged. We worry too much about who we think we should be, instead of just being who we are. We over-value what we aren’t and undervalue what we are.

Regardless of where, when, or why of any situation, we should always be ourselves. I am specifically referring to a staying true to one’s principles and faith. The challenging part of this that there will be times when we need to challenge ourselves from a personality standpoint. We cannot just say, “Well, that’s the way, I am”. We all have such opportunities to challenge ourselves in matters of ability, growth, mental models and even beliefs. I say this with a smirk because I can tell from experience that it isn’t easy, though it may sound so.

People miss the amazing leverage that can come into play when they do buy into their vision for their own life and determining what’s preventing themselves from achieving it.

Death isn’t the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live.

May 15, 2009

The team of stars or a star team

Filed under: Business,Leadership,Learning — Subbaraman Iyer @ 3:26 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I have been thinking about what makes a great team as in the past few weeks several conversations with friends and business associates have gone in this direction. Often in my life if I have a series of causal discussions veering towards a particular theme or topic for no particular reason, I know I am on the verge of making a self discovery. The topic of team work is one such serendipitious moment.

I have great respect for people who can make ordinary teams extraordinary. And often this is highly underrated in an executive’s bio. Surprisingly this trait doesn’t get ratings even in leadership and management skills or behavioral inventory lists.

The manner in which Guus Hiddink has made a success of every coaching assignment led me to ponder deeper. Guus Hiddink took an unknown Korean team to the semi finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup defeating in the process formidable teams like Italy, Poland and Spain before losing to Germany. Just to prove that it was no flash in the pan,  he coached Australian soccer team to success in the 2006 world cup and is credited with turning a team into a solid defensive unit which only conceded one goal away from home to both Uruguay and the Netherlands. Well, success with the Russia soccer team followed.

Now more recently, as the caretaker manager of the Chelsea club, he has taken an ordinary bunch of players who were drawing every other match into a winning team and proved to all and sundry that he is an extraordinary coach.

Well, all that I would say is that a very deep understanding of human condition (the good, the bad and the ugly in all of us) to harness the energy and the talents of a team. Money alone will not buy loyalty, commitment, performance and achievement. Singularity of vision, ability to motivate, to energise and the knack of rallying a group of people around a single vision or goal all contribute towards delivering a high performing team. One undoubtedly needs talented individuals within a team, but without inspired leadership a talented team they just become a team with stars.

Not a star team.