Connected minds 

Once in a while, I let the monk get away from his solitude and mediate with others. The energy of connected silence i find visually and emotionally uplifting. 
In life too, we come across people who suddenly cross our paths, where you can immediately sense their aura, their positive energy and shared intent. Suddenly, there’s a connection like you knew them from a lifetime ago. People always carry their energy around them and this speaks way before they even utter a word.   

    
 

One of my favourite poems: Come to the edge

This poem by Christopher Logue is one of my all time favourites.

Its speaks on so many layers and is a great analogy on getting out of our comfort zone, to do things we thought impossible before and to take wings. How often have we stood by on the edge and not taking action with the fear of failure. tumblr_lzp9drvi7B1qzivpmo1_500

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We’re comfortable back here,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We’re too busy,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“It’s too high,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We’re afraid,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We’ll fall,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
And they did.

And he pushed them.
And they flew.

Christopher Logue.

20 Quotes every designer will love!!

 

Here’s a collection of wisdom converted into visuals. These are curated mainly from Pinterest and I don’t know the source for most. Each of them inspire and sympathise.Many of the visual quotes/ phrases connect and summarise the thoughts of a creative individual. Have fun browsing and add your list to them.

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my Bucket List of 50 and how to make one

bucket-list

This is my bucket list.

Though its a bucket list, I would really love to tick everything on this list in the next 5 years! I probably would add 50 more as the years go by on this wish list. 

A bucket list helps us to trigger and bring to life so many simple pleasures we may forget as we get caught up in day to day life. The list makes us look inwards and find what really will bring a smile to ourselves and sets in motion a chain of events that make them come alive.

Sometimes some of the wildest dreams come true when they are put out into the world. I had shared my list earlier and 2 items magically came alive because friends read them. One friend read kilimanjaro on the list and planned a trip and called me to join and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I had penned that I wanted to fly a plane and never imagined that would come true during a holiday where another friend organised a jaw dropping ride through clouds with me at the controls.

Go ahead and write a bucket list now and share it with the world. It’s going to come alive!

1.Write and illustrate a children’s book

2.Climb Kilimanjaro

3.Do a series of large format paintings

4.Have an exhibition of my paintings

5.Write and direct a movie

6.Do a road trip through Italy with my wife and kids

7.Take a romantic vacation in Venice

8.Skydive

9.Take a month off and travel alone with a camera, a sketchbook and a backpack and publish a book on the experiences

10.Go to a U2 concert

11.Meet Bono

12.Meet Richard Branson and pick his brains on entrepreneurship

13.Run a full marathon

14.Learn to cook like a chef

15.Own a holiday home in Spain

16.Learn arabic and mandarin

17.Do a stand up comedy act

18.Learn pottery and glazing and have my own kiln at home

19.Own a Porsche Panamera

20.Snorkel in the great barrier reef 

21.Publish a book on “The world’s worst puns”

22.Have a six pack

23.Visit Disneyland with my kids

24.Fly a plane

25.Host a radio show

26.Write a motivational book

27.Speak to an audience of 1000 or more

28.Sponsor and educate 100 children through high school

29.Learn bonsai

30.Watch a football match final live with Barcelona playing

31.Watch a cricket world cup live with India playing

32.Meet Lionel Messi

33.Meet MS Dhoni

34.Watch an Opera

35.See Cirque de Soliel perform live

36.Do theatre and act in a play and design the stage and production

37.Launch my own line of furniture

38.Do the Serengeti safari

39.Travel to Cyprus

40.Do Vipassana meditation

41.Own a cafe

42.Visit Vegas

43.Learn to ski in the alps

44. Go white water rafting

45.Bungee jump

46.Lose 20 kilos

47.Meet Jack Canfield and attend his seminar

48.Attend a Tony Robbins seminar and meet him

49.Vist the Kyoto zen gardens

50.Do a boys bike trip in Ladakh with my best friends

Some links to help you make a bucketlist

ideas of other peoples lists listed by popularity

and 500 more ideas

the how of bucket lists

1000s of bucket list ideas here

step by step on how to make a bucket list

4 mentors who changed my life

 

“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.”

Bob Proctor

When I look back today, the biggest catalysts in my life have been the mentors I had the opportunity to be influenced and inspired by along the way. At every important milestone, I have been blessed with individuals who have left their mark and navigated the journey for me.

I strongly feel each of us need to seek out people who become catalysts in our lives and bring out the best in us.

Who are mentors?

A classic mentor is an individual who will be straight with you, wish the best for you and also be able to see within us that which we can’t see ourselves and uncork that inner magnificence.

Mentors usually carry upon their shoulders wisdom, experience, integrity, warmth, a unique gift of listening, vision and a generous nature of giving and enabling. Seek out people who have inspired you and are a benchmark of the values you desire.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin

This is an ode to my mentors and the life lessons they gifted me.

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“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.”
Galileo Galilei

My grandfather, A A Rahim

My late grandfather will always be a towering personality in my memories.

I have grow up seeing him in the epicenter of people and adulation and being a role model for excellence and ambition. From a small town in kerala, he went on to work with three generations of the Gandhi family. He became a cabinet minister with the foreign ministry portfolio and then a governor. His philanthropic work included being involved in building hospitals, educational institutions and mosques in the town and he is still remembered as one of the greatest political leaders years after he is no more.

I always remember our joint family house with the front door always open buzzing with a constant stream of well wishers and positive energy. He was a man known as an astute leader, an individual with the highest integrity and values, a politician with immense diplomatic skills and someone even his enemies respected. He was larger than life and still is.

He lived his life with the highest of ideals and scaled heights nobody ever dreamt about. Yet he did this on his terms and conditions and with no regrets or compromises.

As a child, I would cherish the alone time with him in the middle of his busy schedule. I would hop in whenever in I could on drives or sit in his room and seek advise and counsel or just watch how he conducted himself.

His words of encouragement and life lessons built the earliest seeds of leadership in my mind. He would expound on having an aim in life, about thinking big, the importance of fitness, knowing what true friendship is and about growing with your principles and values intact.

He walked the talk in enacting the principles of giving and sharing wealth with the needy. Even today, years after he’s no more, I always bump into someone who will share a story about how his actions touched their lives.

A story involving him that left the biggest mark in my life is regarding a race. When I was 15, I had a math tutor, who would come home in the holidays for tuition. In one conversation, the tutor learnt that I was a runner and he shared that he was also a coach for a local school. He invited me to race against his best runners and I confidently took up the challenge and reached the neighborhood school to prove my mettle.

The race was against 3 of his finest runners and we lined up at the 100 meter track with crowds from the school cheering. I put in my finest performance and raced ahead of the pack with ease. When I turned back to the group, I witnessed the scary sight of a screaming tutor running at the boys in anger with a cane and beating his fastest athlete repeatedly. After a shocking caning marathon and a barrage of verbal abuse, he turned and challenged me to yet another race with the boys.

It was the worst experience of my life and in that moment I decided to lose and save the boys another hiding. I finished last and made sure it didn’t look like I lost purposely. The tutor raced over and patted the boys proudly and I said the fastest goodbye ever.

When I reached home, I scurried into my grandfathers room wanting to recount every part of the incident. I ended with the story of what a hero I was and how I lost purposely. I thought he would be glowing with pride at my emotional intelligence at such a young age. To my shock and surprise, he asked me if I realised what I did wrong in this situation. I scratched my head and couldn’t think of anything.

He waited, paused and softly said, “I am so proud of you but do you also realise that you have just reaffirmed to the strange tutor that the way of the stick works and now, he will never stop doing that ever again!”

That was a big life lesson in reading situations, seeing the grey shades, about deeper thinking and behavioral patterns and about never being superficial and naive again.

My grandfathers influence will always stay within me just as his goodwill and aura still shines bright generations on wherever I go and meet people who once knew him.

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“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
William Arthur Ward

My principal, Mary Roy

Mary Roy forged within me an ironclad set of values and virtues. She was a catalyst that ignited a fireball of energy and purpose into my life when I was just 16. I am still fueled and charged by this momentum from my high school years. Mrs.Roy taught me the unflinching support of truth and instilled in me an unwavering form of integrity. She handed me courage to stand for what I believed was right and taught me to hold my ground no matter what.

Mrs Roy empowered students with responsibility and treated us and spoke to us like young adults. She taught me the importance of a well rounded education and that its never only about marks and studies.

Every experience was a life lesson and the 2 years under her tutelage and mentorship, allowed me to grab responsibility and carry on my shoulders that which I never thought possible.

At such a young age, she was definitive and clear and clearly stated to me that I was a leader who would one day make the country proud. She told me that great things waited for me as life would unfold. She stood and announced it to the world and that became the self fulfilling prophecy I wanted to live my whole life by. She had set a benchmark for me to live my following years by.

My inner confidence was spurred by her belief in me and I set off from school armed with her vision for me. I left with a strong conscience and an overflowing sense of self confidence ready to take on any challenge in the world.

 

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
Robert Frost

My first Boss, Sunil Handa

When I was just 22, I started working with Mr.Sunil Handa. I had just finished design school and I had graduated with a gnawing need to understand management and business principles.

I had heard about the corporate legend that Mr.Handa was and he was reputed to be a very tough taskmaster. At the time, I thought this would be the perfect training ground to evolve from just a designer into a businessperson.

Sunilbhai (as everyone calls him with respect and love) was all that and more. He was tough, set high benchmarks and expectations for me and taught me every nuance of business. I met him for my interview and shared that I wanted to use the experience over 4 years to learn hands on every aspect of business. I explained what I seemed what an apprenticeship and not a job.

The experience was any young man’s dream. He showered responsibility on me and paced me like no one had ever before. He made me believe I could do colossal tasks with quarter the time and enjoy my work as a challenge.

He would push me to the limits where I blossomed. Nudge me across the cliff and taught me flight. Combined with responsibility, there was always an unsaid belief in my delivering to his expectations and I never failed. I would seek out work outside my comfort zone and he would throw them my way. Negotiating, finance, running machinery, traveling across the country on short notice, creating dealer network, buying tools and hands on selling – I did it all and I loved every moment.

Over the years, we formed a bond stronger than a parent and he always told me that he believed that great things would happen to me and he was just being a catalyst. He sent me to one of the best business schools in the world and ensured I translated everything I learnt to reality by launching a division for the company and growing it alone as a profit center.

By the time I was prepared to take wings myself, he left in me values and had instilled a navigation system for life. Without realizing, I carried away the ability to be focused, think long term, benchmark internationally, grow talent from the roots, value the joy of work and be meticulous and resolute in any endeavor.

In my mind, no challenge would be too large anymore. Sunilbhai is still my father figure and the one who reminds me of long term goals and nudges me to the next milestone and gets me thinking bigger each time we meet.

 

“Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.”
Aristotle

My coach, Rajesh Nagjee

Rajesh knocked on the front door of my life in a chance meeting at a training and the journey has never been the same since. When he met me, our organisation was like a hostel room, a group of friends doing our stuff not caring about the world. We lived in the office, workaholics, disorganised and caught up with our selfish motives and artistic expression. From there, waking us up and instilling a code of professionalism and finding for us a calling that more than just self expression. He taught us to look inside and pointed out our distinct strength-to use our creative abilities and marry business acumen to enable our clients businesses to grow.

Through repeated sessions both individual and with the company, we grew from strength to strength. Even as the organisation broke geographical boundaries and rapidly expanded while deeply serving our clients, I found an amazing work life balance and what is more important a clear command of my calling. Over our interactions, I found a chief definitive aim and a laser focus on my life purpose. I found a perfect zone which married my passion, my talent and automatically created a market need for my clients.

He nudged me to discover by myself that I was passionate beyond a cure to assist entrepreneurs to succeed. I realised that my strength was being a catalyst for the growth of home grown brands, to assist start ups and SMEs to rapidly grow. For this, I devoted myself and the organisation to the science of using innovation and help businesses differentiate themselves. To help clients emotionally connect with their customers and potential customers and to be able to deliver this on a consistent basis around the world. With the company and my team, he helped to evolve pillars that became my core and galvanise us into action. All this while ensuring, we spent the least time on work and strike a perfect balance. We learnt to have fun, be playful and make our clients our best friends.

An ongoing coaching and mentoring relation taught me the science of listening, of growth, of systems, cash flows, relationships, people skills and a million other lessons which permeated into parenting, life goals, vision board, self actualisation, goal setting, time management and endless other insights across all parameters.

On our company’s 10 year anniversary Rajesh awarded me a title publicly which I today operate from and have made it my self fulfilling prophecy. He bestowed upon me the title “Zen monk in a suit” and that has today become me.

 

Besides my mentors, there are individuals who influence you in so many ways. My parents, my wife, my brother and sister and my children who teach me a new way of seeing the world each day, my friends and my core team at office, the books I read, my mastermind and idols whose lives I model.

I feel the universe conspires to ensure my success by sending people into my life at intervals and important milestones!

 

4 books that every entrepreneur must read

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I love reading and devour books in search for knowledge, ideas and paradigm shifts in my thinking. As an entrepreneur, books become a hunting ground for feeding on new ideas and thoughts to push me out of my comfort zone.
From the 100s of books I have read and dissected, 4 stand out for their effectiveness and impact they have had.

Here’s a short review and summary of these books and the reason why you should get a copy, read it and gift it to every entrepreneur you know.


1. Think and grow rich- Napolean Hill

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This is the Bible for every entrepreneur and the great grandfather of all motivational books. The original was written in 1937 but the laws of success outlined are timeless. Think and grow rich is a culmination from a lifetime of research by Napolean Hill who dedicated his life unravelling the science of wealth. Andrew Carnegie, billionaire and philanthropist, inspired and initiated the idea and also opened doors for Napolean Hill to connect and study successful businessmen across America. This book is really the father to hundreds of modern day books on success that use the core idea from the findings of Napolean Hill as the core ingredient.
Think and grow rich explains every aspect and element that constitute success. From his conversations and observations of eminent billionaires of the time like Henry Ford and Thomas Alva Edison, he outlines and breaks down the science of wealth. The book touches upon every aspect that constitutes a mindset for wealth drawing constantly on examples and anecdotes.

Each of the chapters explains a principle and Hill peels away in detail every layer of success. The book delves into the softer aspects of the mind like your sixth sense, intuition, imagination and persistence. Hill throws light and inspires mindset shift, spurs you to understand the importance of a mastermind.
If one was to have a single motivational book in your library with the mindset for success and wealth this is it!

2. Unlimited Power- Anthony Robbins

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Anthony Robbins Unlimited Power is a workbook for life and a blueprint for excellence. He breaks down every aspect of excellence from mindset, language, relationships, food, health, vision and any other aspect that can spur one to excellence. He simplifies the laws of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming developed by Richard Bandler and John Ginder) into simple concepts and ideas with innumerable assignments and to dos. You can hear his voice through the book egging you on and pushing your limits.
Read the book with a notepad by your side and religiously do every assignment, reflect on the learnings, discuss it and share with friends and family and imbibe the same. This book can change your life in business, self awareness, relationships, health and mastery in excellence. I also advise buying the audio book and listening in the car or at the gym to deeper embody the philosophy of the book. At 421 pages it isnt intended to be a light read, but its difficult to put down.

The concepts explored and shared by Anthony Robbins is the new science of personal achievement. This is arguably his best book (his other book is ‘Awaken the giant within’) and its a culmination of his various experiments and studies. Interesting concepts to build rapport with people, methods of modeling excellence of successful people, conquering phobias and fears and exploding self limiting beliefs that hold you back.
This is a book I gift to friends, individuals who are starting out in business and people whose life I would love to touch and inspire for accelerated achievement

3.Rework -Jason fried and David Hansson

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Rework is a thought provoking book that turns many myths of business upside down. Its a manifesto for doing business with your heart and becomes even more relevant in the post recession model of entrepreneurship. This is an extremely enjoyable book written from the heart by the founders of 37signals. Its one of those rare business books that you will probably smile and grin while reading. Its a book that rolls a hand grenade gently into the board room and explodes the typical. Within its pages are nuggets of wisdom not written by academicians nor research specialists but sharing of learnings from entrepreneurs who have grown a start up into one of the fastest growing firms in the world and still run in with passion, humility and fun.
The concepts shared makes you stop and think and radical ideas are disseminated at every page. Chapters share ideas that challenge and implore you to stop planning, avoid getting caught in the quest for growth for the sake of growth, questions the need for workaholics, asks you to avoid investors and outside money, teaches you to stay lean always, tells you not to try and make the product perfect and settle for good enough and many more such compelling arguments.
Rework is one of those rare gems that you chance upon like a good friend who shakes you up from your daily grind and leaves you thinking. Seth Godin couldn’t have said it better with his quote on the cover of the paperback “Ignore this book at your own peril!”. I concur.

4.Outliers- Malcolm Gladwell

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Gladwell’s latest book is yet another stroke of genius from an author whose books blend research, date, history and facts to highlight his arguments with passion. The author of titles like “Blink” and “Tipping point” analyses success and argues that it is not the brightest who succeed nor is it the sum of the decisions and efforts we make. He says it is rather a gift. Outliers he says are those who have been given opportunities and have had the presence of mind to seize them when they came knocking.

He narrates many success stories and weaves it with circumstances that led to their success. Gladwell introduces a concept of 10,000 hours and links that as the tipping point for success. He outlines the tale of Bill gates as a young programmer and how he evolved because he had access to a computer club that no other high schools had. How Gates had 10000 hours of programer experience by the time he was 20 which was almost impossible at the time. In the initial chapter, Gladwell explains success based on birth days and gives hockey as an example sharing how most of the payers were born in the first 3 months of the year. Like his earlier works, this book is a great read and Gladwell’s innovative method of looking at theories makes you ponder.

The book is a delight and will make you think about success and its parameters in a completely different light.

How to Motivate Kids

Insightful article on parenting

How do you inspire your kids to motivate themselves? (Here are a few tips to help you influence them towards self-motivation.)

1. Don’t let your anxiety push them to get motivated. You will only motivate them to resist you or to comply to calm you down because they want you to leave them alone. This won’t motivate them as much as teaching them how to appease or resist you. It then becomes about reacting to you instead of focusing on themselves and finding some internal motivation. Your anxiety and need for them to care will just create a power struggle between you and your child.

2. Be inspiring. The only way to motivate is to stop trying to motivate. Instead, work towards inspiring your child. How do you do that? Be an inspiring person. Ask yourself if your behaviors are inspiring or controlling. Understand that your kids will want to run the other way if you’re too controlling. Think about someone in your own life who is inspiring to you, and work towards that goal. Remember, the only thing you’ll motivate if you’re pushing your child is the motivation to resist you.

3. Let your child make his own choices—and face the consequences. Let your child make his own choices. When it’s a poor choice, hold him accountable by letting him face the natural consequences that come with it. If the consequence of not doing his homework is that the computer is taken away, put the need to get that computer time back in his hands. If he finishes his work, he gets the time on the computer you’ve agreed upon. That will be a motivation for him in the right direction without you telling him what to do, how to do it, and lecturing him on why he should care. As a parent, what you’re actually doing is asking yourself, “What will I put up with? What are my values and principles?” and you’re sticking to them.

4. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What motivates my child?
  • What does he really want?
  • What questions can I ask that will help him discover and explore his interests?
  • What are his goals and ambitions?

Step far enough away to see your child as a separate person. Then observe what you see. Talk to him to find the answers to the questions above. And then listen—not to what you want the answers to be, but to what your child is saying. Just listen to him. Respect his answers, even if you disagree.

5. Choose which door you want to enter. Imagine two doors. Door number one is for the parent who wants to get their kids motivated and do the right thing in life: Get up, go to school, get their work done, be successful. Door number two is for parents who want their kids to be self-motivated to do those things. They want to influence their child to work toward the things they’re interested in. To not only do the right thing but to want to do the right things.

Which door would you enter? If it’s door number one, then the way to achieve that goal is push, punish, beg, nag, bribe, reward, and cajole. If you decide on door number two, then you’ll reach that goal by asking different kinds of questions. Rather than, “Did you get your homework done?” you might say, “Why did you decide to do your homework today and not yesterday? I noticed you chose not to do geometry yesterday, but you’re doing your history homework today. What’s the difference?” Be an investigator, exploring and uncovering, helping your child discover his own motivations and sticking points.

Related: How to stop nagging, yelling and fighting with your unmotivated child.

6. It’s not your fault. Remember, your child’s lack of motivation is not your fault, so don’t personalize it. When you do this, you may actually contribute to the underachieving by creating more resistance.

Look at it this way. If you look too closely in the mirror, you can’t really see yourself—it’s just a blur. But when you get farther away, you actually see yourself more clearly. Do the same thing with your child. Sometimes we’re just so close, so enmeshed, that we just can’t see them as separate from us. But if you can stand back far enough, you can actually start to see your child as his own person and start to find out what makes him tick—and then you’ll be able to help him understand himself as well. When you step back and observe, you’ll know what works for him, why he’s reaching for certain things and what really gets him moving. There will be things he’s never going to be motivated to do but is still required to them. He may hate doing his chores and try to get out of it, and that’s when you give him consequences.

The goal is to influence your child when he has to do something he doesn’t want to do, and get to know him well enough to figure out what his own desires might be. As a parent, you want to strengthen his skills in defining what’s important to him. You want to help your child define for himself who he is, what’s important to him and what he’s going to do to make those things happen. Our responsibility is to help our kids do that, not to do it for them. We need to stay out of their way enough so they can figure out who they are, what they think and where their own interests lie.



Read more: http://www.empoweringparents.com/Unmotivated-Child-6-Ways-to-Get-Your-Child-Going.php#ixzz2aWAEx0Z6

How to Motivate Kids: 6 Ways to Get Your Child Going.

Master of my fate, Captain of my soul

Invictus is a beautifully crafted poem by William Ernest Henley.

The film on Nelson Mandela uses the title and the poem is narrated by Morgan Freeman (who plays Mandela in the film). The poem and its thought are so inspiring in context of Nelson Mandela and his experience in prison.

It takes great willpower and resilience to be in jail for 27 years and to come out with your spirit intact, if not buoyed by the experience. Mandela was first on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison and left with his soul intact.

The way it is depicted in the film Invictus is so beautiful. It makes you sense the reality of the prison and what he has achieved against this backdrop.

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

 

 

My zen moment today!

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Todays illustration has a little preamble to its evolution.

I was all day at a business coaching session. Rajesh, my coach who has inspired me over the last nine years worked with us today on an array of new business ideas.

As I sat in the class today alongside many inspiring CEOs, assimilating the insights and wisdom, I sensed the past nine years like it was yesterday again. The thirst for being reborn again and again everyday and surrendering the wisdom of the past allows me to discover myself truly.

Today, there was a brilliant distinction between goals and horizons. As I had set my goals and achieved them, I kept raising the bar, making them tougher and tougher to inspire me to rise higher. While this worked beautifully and had taken me to heights I could never have imagined, there’s another dimension to this process and its outcome.

As vision boards and dreams fuel the journey, there’s a fine line where the goals became obsessive. Suddenly, everything I had wasn’t that exciting because I didn’t have the projected future yet. Where I was today seemed so insignificant to the future I had envisioned and visualized!

As I grappled with this and suddenly let the goals free and realized they were but horizons, I could yet again embrace the beauty of the moment.

This illustration is something that I sketched as I listened during the session. I came back in the evening and toyed with the idea of creating a frame that captured this concept and embedded the beauty of the moment.

This is my zen moment which I will never let go of again.

(Maybe I should work with Rajesh to evolve a graphic novel with a parallel to business coaching principles!)