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February 2009

Master-mind alliance

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I recently witnessed an associate exhibiting a poor performance. I remember thinking how difficult it would be to give him honest feedback on his performance but was instantly comforted by the fact that based on what I knew about him, he would never ask. He would prefer to either blame or rationalize his shortcomings or just choose to believe he had done well.

Asking for feedback helps people become leaders. It also enables them to stay effective leaders.

I have often felt that if you do not want to know, do not ask. If you are a leader, you will want to know. That doesn’t mean you will adjust to every bit of feedback you receive as if it were profound truth. Feedback is usually mixed with opinion and personal preference. But enough feedback from  credible sources (who has fruit on the tree) will provide valuable information you can use to improve your performance.

Leaders ask because they want to know how they are doing and how to keep doing better.


Nuggets from Charlie and Ann

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Yesterday was very productive and very special where I got a chance to listen to one of the most sought after E-Entrepreneurs from PA, Charlie and Ann Durso.

The convention center was completely packed and it was a standing room and people had come from long distances like Seattle, San Jose and Phoenix to listen to these enthusiastic entrepreneurs.

I got lot out of their speech and I am still chewing on what they shared. Few of the nuggets they shared were "there are  no extra special people on the planet. We all have gifts, resources and capacities that make us special. And with gifts come responsibilities. To use them. To refine them. To make them brighter so we create more value. To forget the burden on you to be great is to neglect the call on your life. And no failure could be bigger than that.

Everybody is worried about the bankruptcies that are happening all over the place in corporate America. But the biggest bankruptcy of all is to lose your dream."

Charlie also emphasized the importance of reading. When you are exposed to a new idea in a book that you read, whether you really get that idea consciously or not, you are not the same person you were before you picked up that book. At some level, you have changed. You see the world a little differently. You have grown. He emphasized all aspiring enterpreneurs to read for a change. Stay hungry for learning and putting what you learn in action. 


Humility

-Karthik Gurumurthy

There is an alarming trend taking place. People who have had some degree of good fortune and success tend to lose their humility and become at least slightly arrogant. This is very unfortunate for many reasons. First, and most obviously, no one really wants to be around someone who is arrogant or self-absorbed. It is boring and it's annoying!  Arrogance conveys a lack of gratitude. The assumption is, "I did this all by myself: it's all about me." Factors such as fortuitous timing, good luck, breaks, and so on are forgotten or disregarded.

In addition, when you allow success to go to your head, your stress level skyrocket and your quality of life gradually disappears. People will stop liking you, and eventually, you will stop liking yourself.

So, whether you have already made your fortune or are still working on it, try to see the absurdity and humor behind letting any type of success go to your head. Even if you've slipped in that direction, it's never too late to turn yourself around. You can have it all--tremendous success, good fortune and a life time of abundance-and still be a thoughtful, kind, generous person.

Just remember that humble people don't think less of themselves, but think of themselves less.


No Pain, No Gain

by Karthik Gurumurthy

Recently I decided to go back to the gym and I started working with the physical trainer. The first five sessions were painful. I pushed, grunted and groaned. By the time I was finished I was actually feeling quite good. I was well and truly on my way to getting the body of Adonis. Then came the next morning...man was I sore! My body was aching all over. Initially I had the temptation to complain to Shobana about this but I resisted it. I was not going to let that stop me. I realized that the pain I was feeling was a direct result of me pushing past my limits.

It's the same when you're going through life and aiming for a greater level of success. I guarantee that you will experience some pain. And if you don't, then are you really pushing yourself beyond your past attempts.? You don't seriously think that you can go through all of that without some feeling of mental or personal discomfort, do you?

Everyone at some point in time will experience the pain that is associated with personal growth and success. So be prepared for discomfort as too many people think that everything is going to go smoothly and get a rude awakening when they hit a hurdle. You are going to have to stretch yourself, do things that you have never attempted before, and maybe even separate yourself from friends with negative attitudes just to get to where you want to go. The good news is that the pain will go away(sometimes very quickly!) and you will end up a better and stronger person for it.

As young children many of us experienced growing pains. It is the same with growing into your goals. The reason you don't have those goals now is because you have yet to go through things that will bring you closer to them. If I want my muscles to grow, then they are going to be stretched and pushed beyond their normal limits. The same goes for you and your journey. You need to push yourself way past what you have experienced and attempted previously. When you do, you will find it a bit uncomfortable. But don't give up; this is all part of the growing process.

The problem is that many people give up when start to get uncomfortable in their personal growth. Make sure you don't avoid the pain by limiting your growth. All that will happen then is that you will remain in the same position or area of your life for the rest of your life. A little pain goes a long way. Don't give up because you don't want to face those changes. Face them head on and watch yourself grow, and remember that no pain, no gain!


Take charge

-Karthik Gurumurthy

One of the most insidious, tempting habits in all of life also happens to be one of the surest ways to rob yourself of empowerment, joy and abundance. I am referring to the habit of blaming others or external conditions for our failures, mistakes, problems, and lack of success. You might call it "the blame game."

Blaming others is a very easy thing to do. It creeps into our lives in subtle, as well as not so subtle, ways. It shows up in our thoughts and in our conversations. We might, for example, think to ourselves, "I'd be more successful if the products I were selling were of better price," or I'd make more money if the economy were better (or if my competition were more ethical, of if I had been luckier, or had taken a different career direction)." We might attribute our lack of fulfillment to changing times, a missed opportunity, or too little education. Or, we might complain to our wife or husband, "I travel too much to attend the meetings," or "I can't help it, no one ever taught me how to close a deal." How about this one; "I'd be in better shape, it's just that I don't have time. " The habit of blaming can and does happen in almost any situation-we blame our competitors, employer, the government, our personal history, our age, sex, even our parents or current family responsibilities.

It's not that our tendency to blame is without any merit. There usually is a grain of truth in our complaints.But that's part of the problem. We can almost always justify to ourselves why our version of the blame game is valid. But all that does is keep the game going. And in doing so, we move away from the solution, which, of course, is taking charge of our own lives and our own destiny. It is really easy to blame our lack of exercise or family involvement on our schedule-it's little tougher to admit that we are not prioritizing it. Likewise, it's effortless to convince ourselves that we never get any breaks; far more difficult to commit to making those breaks happen. It is easy to pay lip service to this concept, a little tougher to fully implement it. But when you do, the rewards-financial and otherwise-are great.

Most of the time blaming isn't blatant and obnoxious. It's far more subtle than that. And that's precisely why it's hard to identify-and put an end to. Yet , if you can have the humility to admit that you, too, fall into this habit from time to time- and you can identify those instances- you will have opened the door and paved the way for almost unlimited success and enjoyment in whatever it is that you do. Once you see that you are in charge of your own destiny, your life will become the magical and successful adventure it was meant to be.

I have been amazed at how helpful this concept has been in my own life and surprised by what I have found. The decision to stay away from the blame game has empowered me to live the life of my dreams. I suspect that it will be equally powerful for you if you give it a chance.

Nuggets from Secrets of the Millionaire mind

I would like to share some of the nuggets I got  from the book "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" by T. Harv Eker.

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Complaining is the absolute worst possible thing you could do for your health or your wealth! Why?
I’m a big believer in the universal law that states, “what you focus on expands.” When you are complaining, what are you focusing on, what’s right with your life or what’s wrong with it? You are obviously focusing on what’s wrong with it, and since what you focus on expands, you’ll keep getting more of what’s wrong.

Many teachers in the personal development field talk about the Law of Attraction. It states that “like attracts like,” meaning that when you are complaining, you are actually attracting “crap” into your life. When you are complaining, you become a living, breathing “crap magnet!”

Have you ever noticed that complainers usually have a tough life? It seems that everything that could go wrong does go wrong for them. They say, “Of course I complain – look how crappy my life is.” And now that you know better, you can explain to them, “No, it’s because you complain that your life is so crappy, so shut up … and don’t stand near me!”

That brings me to another point. You have to make sure not to put yourself in close proximity of complainers. If you absolutely have to be nearby, make sure you bring a steel umbrella or the crap meant for them will get you too!


 I stay as far away from complainers as possible because negative energy is infectious. Plenty of people however, love to hang out and listen to complainers. Why? It’s simple: they’re waiting for their turn to complain! “You think that’s bad? Wait till you hear what happened to me!”

 Here’s some homework that I promise will change your life. For the next seven days, I challenge you to not complain at all. Not just out loud, but in your head also. But you have to do it for a full seven days. Why? Because for the first few days you may still have some “residual crap” coming to you from before. Unfortunately crap doesn’t travel at the speed of light, it travels at the speed of crap, so it may take a while to clear out.


I’ve given this challenge to thousands of people, and I’m blown away at how many of them have told me that this one, teensy-weensy exercise has transformed their lives. I guarantee you’ll be astonished at how amazing your life will be when you stop focusing on – and thereby stop attracting - crap into your life. If you have been a complainer, forget about attracting success for now; for most people just getting to “neutral” would be a great start.


From now on, as you hear yourself complaining, blaming, or justifying –remind yourself that you are creating your life and that at every moment you are either attracting success or attracting crap into your life. It is imperative that you choose your thoughts and your words wisely!

Investment strategies for relationships

I read this fantastic article written by Dr. John C. Maxwell about relationships. Very powerful and got lot of nuggets from it.

From Slot Machine to Stock Market: Investment Strategies for Relationships

-Dr. John C. Maxwell

In the early years of my career, I did not have a correct view of life. I approached life as if it were a slot machine. I wanted to put as little as possible into it, and I always hoped to hit the jackpot. I'm embarrassed to say that I often had a similar approach in my interaction with people. I was more focused on what people could do for me than what I could do for them. As a result, I would try to make relational "withdrawals" without ever having made any deposits. Needless to say, I was not very successful.

As I matured, I begin to place a higher value on people. As I made this transition, I noticed a fascinating development: the more I gave to relationships, the more I seemed to gain from relationships. In my book, Winning With People, I named this phenomenon The Boomerang Principle. What you put into relationships has a way of coming back to you.

During my time in leadership, I've noticed that people fall into three broad categories with regards to how they view relationships.

1) Takers

Takers receive and never give. They are the people in life who have a me-first mentality. They try to extract as much as they can from the relationships in their lives, and they rarely, if ever, consider giving back.

2) Traders

Traders receive and then give. Traders will only send you a Christmas card, if you've mailed one to them. They picture relationships as an equation in need of balance. If someone helps them, they feel a debt of gratitude. If they aid another person, they expect a favor in return.

3) Investors

Investors give and then receive. These are the people who give purely for the joy of giving. They add value to others, not as part of a cold calculation, but as a habit. Although doing so may not earn them an instant return, in the long run they reap the gratitude and goodwill of those they have helped.

Investment Strategies for Relationships

Instead of viewing relationships as a slot machine, picture them like the stock market. To get rich, make regular deposits in people over an extended period of time. At first, you may feel like the value of what you're putting in isn't worth the investment. However, like the stock market, in the long run, you'll reap dividends and earn rewards.

1) Think "Others First"

Human nature tends to focus us on personal needs, but investing in relationships requires us to prioritize others. Instead of self-advancement, think others-enhancement. Like a responsible investor, resist the temptation to "time" the relational market, using someone only for short-term gain. That's a strategy doomed to fail. On the contrary, make a habit of adding value in relationships and trust that the long-term results will be in your favor.

2) Focus on the Investment, Not the Return

If you've ever purchased stocks personally, then you know the agony of watching the vicissitudes of the market. Like a roller coaster, your portfolio climbs up one day only to lurch down the next day. Instead of agonizing over returns, a shrewd investor focuses on making the investment. The same principle holds true in relationships. Don't expect specific and immediate benefit from your relational inputs. Through time, you'll be taken care of as long as you're willing to invest.

3) Make Educated Investments

Not all investments yield the same interest, and not all relationships produce the same reward. As a leader, make investing in others a general principle, but be deliberate about putting energy into low-risk, high-reward relationships. Seek out talented people with teachable dispositions, and offer your relational capital to those who will make the most of it.

4) Initiate the investment

A stockbroker won't hack into your bank account and invest money on your behalf. You have to be willing to take the first step. Don't be stingy with your relational investments, giving only to those who've first given to you. Rather, take responsibility for setting the tone of adding value in your relationships.


Reading

-Karthik Gurumurthy

If you develop the habit of reading every day, you will start to enjoy it. You'll look forward to it, your thinking will sharpen, your vocabulary will increase, and you will become a more interesting person.

Leaders are readers. You’ve heard that phrase many times.

Not only does familiarity breeds contempt; it can also breed neglect. Sometimes we discount the value of an idea because it is familiar.

Andrew Carnegie said, “Reading should be carefully planned as a diet for optimum mental growth.”  How many leaders plan their reading carefully? My experience and observation is that most of what leaders read is thrust upon them. They read more out of obligation than by choice.

William Godwin said, “He that loves reading has everything within his reach.” A leader can get a handle on almost any problem or opportunity if he or she knows who to read in that area. The biggest challenge today is finding wisdom in a sea of often dubious information.

Would you like to know how to read? Here’s a suggestion that is as true today as it was when written 100 years ago by OS Marsden: “There are three keys to reading effectively: intention, attention and retention.”

Read by intention, rather than just obligation. Give your attention to items of importance and not just interest. Then highlight, outline and synthesize so that you can retain the nuggets of wisdom.


What is your plan?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

 It is quite difficult to get somewhere if you don't know where you are headed. Yet a huge percentage of us have no plan. Some of us do not really know where we're going or how we're going to get there. It is easy to look and feel extremely busy when we don't have a plan, but in reality, we're just spinning our wheels, putting our fires and chasing our tails.

Last week, I was interviewing a guy to qualify for my team. I asked him, 'Where would you like to be and what would you like to have accomplished a year from now/ five years from now?" His answer was somewhat typical. He said in a confused tone, 'I can't think that far ahead. I guess I'd just like to get through this mess." His "mess" of course, was his "in basket," his list of things to do. Unfortunately, getting through our daily task list does not necessarily lead us anywhere. In fact, it often leads us in circles. The very nature of an in-basket is that it is supposed to be full; items that are taken care of are constantly being replaced with new ones.

A plan is like a road map. It tells us where we are and points in a direction. It helps us strategize about how we are going to get from Point A to Point B. Game planning and setting a goal would act as a daily reminder of the steps necessary to achieve that goal. Without that, we would be just putting our daily fires. We'd keep thinking, "I'll get to it later". But somehow we never will.

When we have a predetermined plan, something magical happens: our plan helps you to draw out our inner strength, creativity and discipline. In some mysterious way, we are usually able to stick to our plan, once we have one in place.

With a plan in mind, sky's the limit. As long as we can visualize a way to implement our plan, our dreams-however big-can become a reality. Plan may be to become a multimillionaire, to run a marathon, to play in US Open. It doesn't matter what your plan is, but it does matter that you have one. Make a plan today.


What do you focus on?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Every second you spend thinking about what you don't want in your life is a second denying focus and energy from getting what you do want. Every minute you worry about what's not working is a minute drawn away from creating what will work. And every hour spent reflecting on the disappointments of the past is an hour stolen from seeing the possibilities that your future holds.

What I have discovered in my own life is that I see more of what I look for. Clarity precedes mastery and the more clearly I look for what I want, the more powerfully I generate that result in my life. By setting clear goals in the important areas, I see more of what I'm searching for. By looking for the best in others, I generally find it. And by looking for the good things in my life and expressing gratitude for my blessings (rather than thinking about any setbacks or problems), I see more of what's good.

Your thinking will create your reality. Your thoughts form your world? Why? Because you will never act against your thinking. Every action is the offspring of a thought. And your actions create the professional and personal life you find yourself in today.