As I look back 5 years, I realize how far I have travelled. In terms of lessons learnt, insights gained, personal experiences and the like.
While my chronicles may not be as profound, still there are useful bite-sized lessons that I can always refer back to.
Here are some key lessons I have learnt about life and leadership in the last 5 years of working and living:
- Most things in life have many shades of grey. Accepting this fact is the first step in dealing with it effectively and gaining from it eventually.
- A few things in life are black-and-white. And you must insist on keeping them that way. Most of your pains and self-inflicted struggles will stem out of your inability or unwillingness to prevent greyness from creeping into what must remain black-n-white.
- Leadership and communication are always situational. The best answer to how you deal with any event is “it depends”. On the people involved, their station in life, your station in life, their level of humanness and maturity, your level of humanness and maturity.
- Related to 3 above, tact and diplomacy are important skills. The straight path may not be always the right path. Detours, roundabouts, long-winded routes are all part of the process.
- Related to 4 above, the need to be tactful doesn’t give you the permission to breach ethics to get your thing done.
- People will respect your leadership to the extent you behave like a leader. People like to follow strong, decisive people. Not necessarily those who have all the answers, but those that are willing to take charge of a situation and own it.
- You will come across many people who either dislike you, envy you or unable to recognize/ appreciate your work and abilities. Don’t let them creep into your mindspace at any time.
- Nothing is what it seems (usually). If there’s one skill in life that stands head and shoulders above all else, it’s the ability to see patterns, read between the lines, get inside others’ heads and notice subtleties everywhere – in conversations, interactions, happenings, personal dynamics.
- There is an opportunity residing in everything. If you are flexible about rules and authority, and realize that future is built on geometric progression and not simple addition and multiplication, you can ride on the back of any event and come out wildly successful. This also makes it easy to digest some unpleasant and uncomfortable decisions and behaviors and idiosyncrasies of the present time.
- Related to 9 above, keep an open mind always.
- When dealing with people, always think in terms of what can be, not what is. Everyone’s on a journey. If you can extrapolate what station a person will be in the future, and also see where your station will be, you will always be able to come up with new exciting possibilities of connecting the two together. Of course, this assumes compatible ethics and values.
- Always break boundaries. Expand the limits of your game. Play outside the norms. You become exceptional and valuable only by adding insane value uniquely.
- Establish personal boundaries which you will not allow anyone to breach. And then convey them whenever you can. Others may resent them, but they will also learn to not step on them.