How NOT To Deal With Stress

We’ve all gone through it some time or the other in our lives – Stress. It creeps up on us everywhere from work to home and in some odd cases, even in our sleep. Stress can also manifest itself in different ways depending on the person – while some may experience headaches; others may suffer more extreme symptoms like panic attacks, shortness of breath, etc. And the solution to all these stress related symptoms are as numerous as the sources of stress themselves. There are numerous tips, home remedies and self help books that address stress management .   In this article however, we are going to look at some things that one must NOT do to deal with stress:

Stress Management Training   is a core program  in our soft skills training and corporate training that is gaining new found respect amongst corporations as they understand the cost of playing at high stakes in a competitive industry and the need to equip their employees with the nerves to handle it.

  •  Smoking – This is quite self-explanatory and hardly needs expounding upon. Smoking is bad for one’s health even if they have zero stress in their lives. Smoking is unhealthy, period!
  •  Pills or Drugs – While there are legitimate medications that one can take to relieve themselves of a head ache or so, frequent use of such medications cause the body to adjust chemical levels within itself to make it dependent on the medication while simultaneously lowering the body’s own immune system.
  • Alcohol – While some alcohol in moderation might help to calm the nerves and steady oneself, ‘drowning’ oneself in it to block out the stress is dangerous to the liver. Besides it seems counter-intuitive to cause the body physical stress in order to deal with mental stress.  ‘Managing Stress Can Improve Company Performance’  is an article on effective stress management techniques.
  •  Withdrawing from people – Sometimes stress causes us to go into a shell. Occasionally some personal space and time might be helpful. But talking to someone also helps in coping with stress better. Otherwise internalizing our stress with no external vent or outlet is not healthy for us.
  • Excessive media – Some people immerse themselves into exorbitant hours of TV or video gaming in order to be able to deal with all the stress. These media devices actually cause more stimulation to the brain preventing it from slowing down and allowing oneself to process and reflect over the stress.

For more interesting articles/blogs on stress management, please follow these links:

Can Tough Feedback make you Tougher  

Stress – A Leadership Non-Essential  

 

Essentials of any Leadership Training Program

Much has been said about Leadership and its essential principles. Leadership has always been a vital aspect of human interaction and dynamics since time immemorial. History has seen its fair share of leadership in every realm of life. Leadership principles have been expounded upon, especially in the business field in leadership training and development programs these days. But leadership has a facet to it that is often overlooked even by these modern leadership training programs – Emotional Intelligence. In this article we will look at some important aspects of EI within the broader subject of leadership principles. These are extensively covered in our Emotional Intelligence Training programs.

Being Self-Aware

Being a self-aware leader does not mean being conscious of oneself. But in fact being keenly aware of one’s own strengths and weaknesses while also understanding how one’s actions and decisions may have an impact on people around them. Many leadership development training programs don’t focus on this internal awareness enough but tend to lean toward the more surface skills and distinctions.

Self-Disciplined

Being a good leader also requires incredible amounts of discipline. This discipline may stretch over emotions, values and accountability. Even leaders are susceptible to being overtaken or overwhelmed by emotions and thus need their leadership management to be grounded in intrinsically good values and by being held accountable by others.

Self-Motivated

Leaders have to be self-driven in order to find within themselves the strength to keep pushing and persevering even when the situation is dire. Keeping their eyes firmly fixed on the objectives, plan and execution is vitally important to stay motivated. Staying positive or optimistic is crucial to being motivated. A leader has to find a way to stay focused on the accomplishments and opportunities instead of get distracted by the problems and setbacks. Every member of executive leadership needs to be conscious of this.

Despite the varying qualities of a leader, Leadership Training Programs are designed to equip leaders with cutting edge tools and resources for progress and development. To see how companies handle this, please read through the following link – Why Great Leaders Never Stop Training

For more information on Leadership Training Programs, please refer to the following articles/blogs:

3 Steps to Enhance Your Leadership 

How to Develop Coaching Skills in Leadership Roles

The Paradigm of Indian Leadership

Life Changing Customer Service

As MMM Training Solutions conducts Customer Service Training we are often privileged to hear stories that are life changing thanks to one person who decided to serve another person beyond the expected. Here is one such story:

January 2006, it was a severe winter in the United Kingdom. There were spells of snow and rain combined with sleet showers. It was my friend, Vikram’s, first trip out of India. He was overawed by the hustle and bustle of London as he made his way to the famous London Tube station to go to Cardiff in South Wales.

It was the peak hour of a weekday and at the station the trains were spilling over with people. He was one of the last to get into the train and before he could pull in the second suitcase, the door closed.

The suitcase was left on the platform and train began to move. The panic set in and the fear of losing his valuables in a new place began to control his senses. He agonizingly saw his suitcase left in the platform as the train moved past it swiftly. It took him about 3 to 4 minutes to recover from the shock. As soon as this happened he realized he could get down in the next station and ask for help.

Vikram knew that any unattended baggage would be destroyed immediately due to security reasons and so he got down and informed one of the stewards of what happened and asked for help. While taking down the details of the baggage the steward noticed the tension on Vikram’s face so he gave him a seat and comforted him. Then Vikram had an agonizing wait for a status update.

The suspense lasted for about 15 minutes. A Lady walked up to him and asked him to identify his baggage she had. The lady, a steward from the previous station was extra courteous understanding Vikram’s anxiety. My friend was so happy and his joy knew no bounds when he was handed over the suitcase. He repeatedly thanked all the stewards.

The secret to success is to treat all customers as if your world revolves around them.” – Leadership Tools

What followed this incident was the exception. The tube train in which the steward traveled was still parked in the station waiting to leave. Vikram asked the steward if he could board the train. Much to his shock she said, “The train has been waiting for you to board all the while.”

Isn’t it important that we disregard limitations and go the extra mile to ensure that our customers have a positive life changing experience?

As far as customers are concerned you are the company. This is not a burden, but the core of your job. You hold in your hands the power to keep customers coming back – perhaps even to make or break the company.” Unknown

Here are some more blogs on soft skills training:

  1. Developing Creativity in Employees Through Outbound Training
  2. 4 Effective Ways To Manage Your Time
  3. Handling Difficult Conversations – A Leadership Essential

The Pursuit of ‘Goodness’ – Is It A Choice?

Things that are bad for you seduce you easily; you run towards them impatiently. But things that are actually good for you fail to attract you; you shun them creatively, finding powerful excuses to justify your procrastination…”

– Mythical character ‘Raavan’ as quoted by mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik in the Times (Times Life, July 4th 2010)

I cannot but agree with king Raavan as far as the above quote is concerned. Many times in my life I have been seduced by what was not good for me. Be it that tasty fried dish, that extra hour spent watching television instead of going to bed, lying about something so as not to lose face and all the other pleasures of materialism that come with being human.

A number of times I have shunned what was good for me – the cleaning up of a room, the exercise that I always wanted to get but never seemed to make the time for, the vegetables that were lovingly kept on my plate, being bold enough to swallow my pride and take responsibility.

How do I rise above this? How do I chase after what is good for me with a greater interest than what I show to all that is material?

The only answer I have found is ‘shifting my intentions’. Choosing to do the ‘good’ things; the ‘right’ things. I chose to eat more vegetables. I chose to take more responsibility. I chose the good. Surprisingly, it was not as hard as I thought it would be. It was by no means an overnight process but the power of a determined mind can take one to levels that a strong body cannot.

Good and bad exist within all of us. I believe that what you give power to (the good or the bad) is what will determine your path in life. Today, ‘goodness’ is something that I chase after. Today, the ‘truth’ is something that I constantly chase after. The challenge is separating the ‘truth’ from ‘subjective truth’. It is an arduous journey, yet one that I believe is the path of higher learning.

As an person who conducts extensive amount of both executive coaching and leadership training, I strongly believe that it is this path that will allow me to be a candle that will spark the learning of those around me.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…”

“…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Mariam Williamson (Spiritual activist and author)

Below are some of our blogs that have been well received by our readers:

  1. What It Takes To Develop The Leader In You
  2. Creativity and Appetite for Risk – Is Jeff Bezos a fool or a leader?
  3. Sachin Tendulkar – The Epitome of Self-Leadership

A Leader’s Greatest Strength – Resilience in the Face of Adversity

Should imbibing virtues be a part of Leadership Training?

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” – Maya Angelou quotes

Ours was a private school and didn’t have the luxury of a large playground. So, we shared a playground with kids from other schools. They disliked us because they felt we were not supposed to be there.

It was one of those days when all of us were playing cricket and a few meters away were the other kids, also playing a loud form of cricket. There was tension in the air, as our team and theirs were playing side by side.

Suddenly, I hear a deafening silence. Our ball slipped into ‘their territory’ and we were not sure who would go and collect it from them. Finally, John, our class monitor, was left with the dirty job. John approached ‘the other kids’, who paused their game as their leader gestured for them to do so. Humbly, but bravely, he walked up to the leader of their group and said, “I am sorry to be interrupting your game. May I have our ball back please?” The response was as expected, a blunt ‘No’.

As a bonus, John was showered with a few adjectives in the local language. Not losing hope, John, despite our cautioning hisses, chose to insist, “Please don’t be angry. We will be careful henceforth. Please return our ball.”

One tight slap… that’s all we got to hear. John’s glasses were on the ground, covered with sand. Even before John could react, the other kids, along with their leader rushed out of the playground, taking our ball with them. John kneeled down to lift his broken glasses while we were still in absolute shock. Surprisingly, he then went looking for the other guy so he could try talking to him again, but in vain. John looked shaken but there was no fear in his face; soon he regained his calm composure…

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon quotes

It would have been very easy for John to retaliate in kind but he chose not to. He chose to believe in himself, his ability to discuss the issue and not in retaliation or one-upmanship.

While we didn’t have the nerve to stand up for ourselves, John faced our worst fear, and probably his too, without letting any of us down.

It is in adversity that one finds the shepherd emerge from the sheep.

Isn’t it this quality of courage under pressure that we would like our leaders to possess?

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It is the learning from such experiences that develop the leadership traits that make you an impactful leader. Recall these life changing experiences and reflect on your learning and notice how it contributes to your performance today.

Read some of our blogs on topics that are frequently addressed in soft skills training:

  1. 3 Invaluable Soft Skills For The Workplace
  2. How Business Etiquette Really Matters
  3. TED Talks And The Art Of Public Speaking

Leadership – Sticking To Your Guns

Walt Disney needs no introduction. The famous founder of Mickey Mouse and co-founder of Walt Disney Productions was an influential thinker during his time. As a young boy, he developed a love and passion for drawing. The journey never stopped even after the setting up of the Walt Disney amusement park, where all his characters still enchant audience – young and old alike – even to this day.

Walt Disney was a man with high Emotional Intelligence – his strong leadership qualities were very pragmatic because of his understanding of the people around him. He believed that you should never stop dreaming, as it leads to the formation of new ideas and gives you a sense of purpose and direction. Though he suffered huge setbacks in his life, he had the courage to keep going on.

His story of struggle and success teaches us an important leadership lesson – leaders need to have the tenacity to chase a dream or goal. This is what will make a true leader stand apart. This person should be the motivating factor to urge his team on towards the finishing line. The leader should encourage others to make their dreams a reality.

“The key to happiness is having dreams. The key to success is making your dreams come true.” ~Anonymous

Living With Emotional Intelligence – Learning From The Mosquito

An important aspect of Emotional Intelligence is optimism. Here is an amusing story based upon positive thinking that I recently heard. I’m sure that it will help us understand that life becomes more beautiful and exciting when perceived from an optimistic perspective.

This is a story of a mosquito family. Like any other mosquito child of his age, the little mosquito of this particular story had to go to mosquito school. This was where he would learn how to fly and feed himself from the best available resource available to mosquito-kind – the humans.

After its graduation, the little mosquito left home on its first assignment. Its parents were excited and worried at the same time – their little one had grown up, and was about to take its first flight into the big world. The little mosquito calmed them saying that he would definitely return and share stories of his taste of success.

Time passed by. The little mosquito was gone for a while now, and his parents were beginning to get nervous. Just when they thought that all hope was lost, in he flew. He looked very happy, and was jubilantly smiling. His proud and relieved parents asked him, “How did you do it son? We’re so happy that the humans haven’t swatted you!”

To this the little mosquito replied, “Swat me? No way! I think they somehow came to find out that it was my first assignment. They were so happy to see me that they encouraged me throughout – by clapping hands and cheering me on!”

This humorous story brings out an important facet of life through the perspective of the little mosquito. Life is what you make out of it – you can choose to be happy and enjoy the journey and the challenges it brings; or you can choose to be pessimistic and appear downtrodden in your own eyes – seeing every hurdle as a mountain in your path, and ultimately having nothing to look back and be proud of.

We should lead life in an emotionally intelligent way, and ensure that we have something to look back at and be happy that we have done something, rather than wonder why we had not done the right thing when it was demanded of us.

Emotional Intelligence – The Seed You Sow For A Fantastic Life

In this blog post, I would like to help readers understand an important aspect of Emotional Intelligence – life is what you think it to be. Read on…

On May 29th, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak at 29,000 feet. In his book, High Adventure, Hillary mentions that he had to grow into this success: In 1952 he attempted to climb Mount Everest, but failed.

A few weeks later, a group in England asked him to address its members. Hillary walked on stage amidst thunderous applause. The audience was acknowledging an attempt at greatness, but Hillary saw himself as a failure.

He moved away from the microphone and walked to the edge of the platform. He made a fist and pointed at a picture of the Mount Everest and said in a loud voice, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you are going to grow… but I’m still growing!”

Such extreme achievements have a lot of physical, mental and emotional power involved. If Hillary would have given up, or relaxed after the first attempt, the world would not have known such a great mountaineer today; he is a man known for his sheer determination and grit – and I would like to see him as an individual who sowed the right seed that led to a great achievement.

This is an example of Emotional Intelligence that harbours many facets. Taking the right step is an important beginning that would chart out a better view of the challenges that you are faced with. So by thinking in the right way – optimistically – you pave the way for continued success in your life.

Emotional Intelligence – The Story Of Two Horses

Emotional Intelligence, today’s corporate buzzword, is a concept that is more concrete than abstract. When you open your eyes and start to think, there are a lot of instances, examples and anecdotes that will come to your mind with regards to it.
Here is an excerpt of a short story that I recently read that once again drives home the concept of Emotional Intelligence that is, or should be, at work in our life…

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you get a closer look you will notice something quite interesting…

One of the horses is blind.

His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made him a safe and comfortable barn to live in. If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. It comes from a smaller horse in the field. Attached to the horse’s halter is a small, copper-colored bell. It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so that he can follow.

As you stand and watch these two friends, you’ll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting he will not be led astray.

When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, he will stop occasionally to look back, making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell..

– Author Unknown

The display of empathy and inspiration is common amongst animals as it is in man. Think of your personal and professional life up to date: there are a lot of instances where you don the role of the blind horse and other times when you become the horse with the bell.

The blind horse signifies the times when we needed to be inspired and motivated, just so that we realize and are reminded of our infinite potential and strength. Other times, we become the horse with the bell – that is, the source of inspiration and motivation to guide others so that they can find their way through, and achieve what they are capable of.

In a nutshell, what more can Emotional Intelligence mean, when applied to our lives?

Empathy In Emotional Intelligence

Here is a touching story on Empathy in Emotional Intelligence. It is the story of a little boy who saw things in a perspective that was different from many other young children of his age.

A farmer once painted a sign board advertising that he had puppies to sell. As he was driving the last nail into the board on the edge of his fence, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down to see a little boy, his eyes wide with expectancy and excitement.

Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

“Well,” said the farmer, “these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”

The boy looked down for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. “I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”

The farmer smiled. “Sure”, he said. And with that he let out a whistle, “Here, Dolly!” he called.

Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight.

As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. Slowly another little ball appeared; this one was noticeably smaller. In a somewhat awkward manner the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up….

“I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the awkward puppy.

The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

Upon hearing this, the little boy looked into the eyes of the farmer and stepped back from the fence. He reached down and began rolling up the sleeve of one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg that was attached to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands him.”

This story of empathy, an important aspect of Emotional Intelligence, should set us thinking. The seemingly trivial act of the young boy was selfless and very understanding. If the story continued, it would have been on the lines of many happy days for the little boy and the puppy.

With a little bit of empathy, it is possible to relate to others, understand and help them out. This adds value to the meaning of life. We get so much in return, happiness being the greatest return.