In 100 Words: Face The Light


In moments of uncertainty, inspiration came to me in form of a tweet with a visual that read,

“If you see shadows, it is because there is light.”

I instinctively told myself,

“If you face the light, shadows fall behind.”

The mindset of abundance asks, “What’s possible?” instead of “What could go wrong?” and focuses on those possibilities because constraints are almost a given in work and life.

Only then, we can start focusing on possibilities, thinking beyond the boundaries, raising the bar, stepping into the unknown and doing what truly matters.

We try. We err. And then, we learn!

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In 100 Words: Finding Inspiration

We either wait for inspiration to happen to us or try finding it from somewhere (books/blogs/videos etc). I have spent countless hours trying to wait or find inspiration. It helped, but only for a short while.

A better way to create inspiration, in my experience, is to get down to doing things. Once you dedicate yourself to the cycle of doing, delivering and improving, that becomes the source of your inspiration, the one that feeds more inspiration.

Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly said, “An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.”

The best inspiration happens while doing the work!

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Journey That Inspires Others

My journey in life and career is largely inspired by what other generous folks have shared – both online and offline.

A boss who believed in me when I didn’t, a book that altered my perspective for better, a few blogs that clarified my thinking one post at a time, an inspiring video that uplifted me, a podcast that I often revisit, a virtual friend who opens a door of possibilities, a family member who guided my perspective about life and the list goes on. When I think of everything that I have received for free, I am only filled with gratitude.

We are all surrounded by generous folks who freely share their lessons, ideas, resources and insights which inspires our own journey, directly or indirectly. 

The critical question then is: If your own journey is inspired by what others shared so generously, how are you making sure that your journey serves as an inspiration for others?

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In the photo: Train and tracks fading away on a foggy winter morning!

Gratitude 2011

Gratefulness fills me whenever a year ends. Each year brings along new hopes, some challenges, many opportunities. When the year ends, we look back and ruminate on how we did to seize those opportunities, to face those challenges and what we learned out of it all.

One of the things I am so grateful about is this blog, and everything it brings along – clarity in thinking, expansion of my world view, some fantastic (and often life changing) lessons and many encouraging friends. I meet these friends through the words they write – through their passion for sharing ideas and make a difference. Here is a partial list of such friends and mentors on blogosphere that I am so thankful for.

  1. Wally Bock and Michael Wade are two individuals that I respect a lot. They run very high quality blogs that are updated almost everyday. I feel honored whenever they feature my posts on their blogs. I am grateful for knowing such wonderful people.
  2. Kurt Harden runs Cultural Offering Blog and is a source of some great lessons on life and leadership. He appreciates my work as much as I appreciate his. I cannot thank him enough for his support and encouragement.
  3. Nicholas Bate is a genius. He is one of my virtual mentors who is also super-creative. He doodles, compiles lists and writes great books. His generosity in sharing his best work with me never fails to amaze me. I am so glad I know him. (Read his latest series: Strategies for Success)
  4. Utpal Vaishnav is a blogger and a cool friend. He reviews my work, validates my thoughts and adds value through his own experience. His blog is a treasure trove of useful insights on project management and self help. His punch line? “No Actions. No Results. Everything else is a commentary.
  5. Rajesh Setty is my guide, mentor and a friend who leads by example. He just does not show the way, but walks the way. He helped me write my first book and encouraged me through a number of conversations thereafter. He is super-generous, thoughtful and inspiring. I am grateful for our connection.
  6. I am thankful to Lisa Haneberg, Becky Robinson and Mary Jo Asmus for their support and encouragement to my work. At various points in 2011, they connected via Twitter, emails and blog to extend help, inspiration and opportunities.
  7. John Hunter is a passionate improvement expert who shares profound insight and research on his blog “Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog”. He also features great thinkers on quality, leadership and lean related topics via his Management Improvement Carnivals.
  8. I am grateful to have known Dan McCarthy and learned a great deal about leadership and people management via his blog “Great Leadership”. Dan is also known as a host of Carnival of Leadership Development.
  9. Seth Godin is my hero. He wrote a profound book “Linchpin” (reviewed here). This year, he wrote “Poke the Box” and released several other master pieces at The Domino Project. I reviewed Poke the Box this year (with a one question interview with Seth Godin). I am cannot end my “thank you” list without a mention of this generous human being who is on a mission to instigate people to do great work and make a difference.

A blog exists because people read it. I wrote last year, “This blog is a skeleton, a tool. Whatever I write here is flesh and blood. But readers, i.e. YOU are the soul.“ So, thank you for reading and supporting QAspire Blog. I have enjoyed all the interactions with you via my posts, comments and interactions through Twitter and QAspire Facebook page.

Merry Christmas!

‘Their Work’ Versus ‘My Work’

When you work in an organization or within a team, you can think of it as ‘doing the work for someone’. For the company. For the manager. For the client.

Or you can think of it as ‘doing your work’. There is a big difference.

Our work is a way to express ourselves. A programmer expresses himself through code. A dancer through her dance. A writer through her words. A leader through his actions. In that sense, our work is our statement. It carries out stamp. It tells something about us.

When you say, “I am doing my work”, you make it personal. It is only when you take the work personally that you can stamp it with excellence. Thinking that you do the work for someone else, you generally do it for the sake of doing it. Simply getting through it. It does more harm to you than you can possibly think of, in a long run.

So, the next time you ship your deliverable to someone (a client, your boss, your peers), think about the statement that your work makes. The stamp it carries.

This Monday, you have a choice. To stamp your work with ‘mediocrity’ or with ‘excellence’. This choice and how it is exercised consciously everyday determines your future and the difference you will make to the organization, team and society.

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Great Quotes – Effort, Execution and Leadership in troubled times

Each day begins with newspapers reporting despondent news on economic downturn – and a general feeling of despair surrounds us.  Some inspiration was needed before I start my week and I sought help from my friend – the feed reader. This friend never lets me down – it searches effectively from some 100 odd good blogs and dishes out some great content – that is not only relevant but also very lifting.

Seth Godin writes a very interesting piece on effort versus luck. Luck comes in easy while effort means some real hard work. He writes –

And that’s the key to the paradox of effort: While luck may be more appealing than effort, you don’t get to choose luck. Effort, on the other hand, is totally available, all the time.

There is an old post from Lisa Haneberg’s Management Craft  – where she emphasizes on importance of execution in troubled times. In the post, she refers to a song from Mark Knopfler called “Why Worry?”

“Why worry, there should be laughter after pain
There should be sunshine after rain
These things have always been the same
So why worry now”

I thanked my friend – the feed reader and went to another faithful friend – the books. I recently read Subroto Bagchi’s “Go  Kiss the World”. Each chapter in the book ends with some profound lesson. I decided that I will just skim through some concluding paragraphs and gain some inspiration. Here is an important lesson – straight from the book.

“Faced with crisis, the job of a leader is to take charge and broadcast his or her intent. It is not the time for self-pity, not a time to ask “Why me?” One has to be brave enough to try and, sometimes fail.

Mother Teresa once said, “God does not require us to succeed, He only asks us to try.”

Finally, in the worst of times, the job of a leader is to let his or her people know that there is a tomorrow.”

Great thoughts to stir up positivity and kick start the week! Have a great week ahead!