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December 2011
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January 2012

Applied Knowledge and Authenticity

-Karthik Gurumurthy

What can we do from our side to be more authentic or trust worthy? 

Let us look at the traits of people whom we readily trust.

You've likely heard or even made this comment about someone:

" So and So really knows her stuff!"  Shobana made this statement yesterday about a physician whom we met yesterday. What do we really mean when we make that statement? 

Usually, it means that someone has positively impressed us with their knowledge, and likely, their ability to apply that knowledge. " Knowiing your stuff" means becoming knowledgeable, skilled, and making a commitment to doing our best in whatever you do. When you know your stuff, it is so much easier to be authentic because you are confident in what you know and do.

Parents are more credible when they have educated themselves on the value of making thoughtful decisions about raising kids, and then applying a consistent approach to raising those kids, and then applying a consistent approach to raising those kids. Physicians are more credible when they continue to seek knowledge and information on advancements in medical practices and are able to help patients to take advantage of the most current and valid information. A friend is more credible when he/she understands what a friend is in need of, and consciously seeks to provide that for the friend.

What is the bottomline?

Authenticity begins with doing whatever we do regularly with a strong commitment to becoming the best whatever we can be for that time, place and situation.


Last year of your life

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Somebody tells you that you have less than a year to live.What would be your reaction?

Your instant reaction is shock..isn’t it?

If you are to believe a large amount of people that statement is true. Books have been written about it and a really bad movie made over 200 million dollars promoting the idea. Many believe that the world will end this December 21st on the Winter Solstice. This is a Mayan prophecy. It has also been said it’s not the end just the beginning of a new shift in the Universe. Still others have said the date has been misread and it won’t happen until the following year in 2013. Who really knows?

Bottom line is, if it were true what would you do? Would you be proud of the life you have lived to date? Have you contributed to the world in a positive way? What have you accomplished and what have you put off?

Perhaps a good idea would be to pretend that this is it. Your last year. If you knew for sure wouldn’t you live your days differently? If you can say no then good for you! If not, why not start to carve out a year you could be proud of. Look at how you spend your time. Who you surround yourself with and how you fill your soul. Do you read the great works and the biographies of amazing people or do fill your head with pages of National Enquirer? Are you wishing you were living someone else’s life or are you creating a life you will be proud of?

If this was the end, perhaps you should make this year a great start!


Indian Cricket Team: Lessons from failures

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I am currently in India to take care of my Dad who is recovering well from a health situation. Thanks to all the friends and family for praying as a result of which he is doing lot better than before.

Being in India, one of the common topics of discussion is always about the performance the Indian Cricket team.

Last year the Indian team reached the pinnacle of achievement where they won the World cup after 18 years. The same team has drawn lot of criticism currently because of their poor performances in England and now Australia. I always believe that winning and losing is part of life. The question to consider would be how we can benefit from this (temporary) debacle. It would be immature for anyone to expect the team to win all the time.

Life has peaks and valleys. When someone goes through the valley, that is the time to reflect upon few areas. That is exactly the time to ask ourselves the questions which I have listed them as follows:

  • What can we learn from this experience?
  • How can we grow wiser, stronger and better because of it?
  • What opportunities does it present?
  • What do we want to achieve?
  • What positive actions do we need to take currently so that we can emerge victorious?



Courage

by Karthik Gurumurthy

Courage is the inner fortitude that allows you to overcome inner barriers and to step up t0 take a chance, even when it seems impossible. The most successful people I know embody that kind of bravery that makes others remark " I can't believe you did that".

An Italian proverb says "He who does nothing does not fail." Courage means you will try something even if you are not certain of the outcome, that you will take a stand when others are running for cover, that you'll risk failure to get where you want to go. Perfect example of someone who did the opposite is Captain Coward.

Courage isn't bravado or taking stupid risks. It is simply deciding to live in a mind-set of possibility instead of fear. It is manifested in everyday actions.


Frogs

Got this story as an email forward..Loved the story..Powerful message. Enjoy!

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Once upon a time there was a bunch of tiny frogs.... who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants.... The race began....

Honestly: No one in crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. You heard statements such as: "Oh, WAY too difficult!!" "They will NEVER make it to the top." or: "Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!" The tiny frogs began collapsing. One by one.... Except for those, who in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher.... The crowd continued to yell, "It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!" More tiny frogs got tired and gave up.... But ONE continued higher and higher and higher.... This one wouldn't give up! At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!

THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it? A contestant asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal? It turned out.... That the winner was DEAF!!!!

The wisdom of this story is: Never listen to other people's tendencies to be negative or pessimistic.... because they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you -- the ones you have in your heart! Always think of the power words have. Because everything you hear and read will affect your actions! Therefore: ALWAYS be.... POSITIVE!

And above all: Be DEAF when people tell YOU that you cannot fulfill your dreams!


Trust factor: Part IV: The fences we create

Karthik Gurumurthy

In the last entry, I wrote about how the fences we create stops us from being authentic. The moment we lose authenticity we lose credibility.

Sometimes we create invisible fences knowingly or unknowingly. These fences have often been in place for a long time, sometimes a lifetime, and they feel so much a part of us that we honestly don't even realize they are here. There can be many reasons why someone chooses to activate the fences to protect something.  Typically, we build our fences when we lack confidence for some reason.

When we activate our invisible fence, we begin to act in a way that we believe is either more acceptable to others or one that we perceive to be safe-versus being our true and imperfect selves. We learn to trade in our authenticity for acting because we convince ourselves that our act is more acceptable. It can activate in a variety of ways.

A very successful business entrepreneur "Joe" is extremely engaging when interacting with others. He is sociable, humorous, and has very  persuasive communication skills. When first meeting Joe, most people react quickly with, "What a great guy!" He is gifted  at remembering facts about everyone and is impressive with his ability to recall names and facts about people for years! Over time though, people who know him do not describe Joe as being authentic or transparent.  Instead, he tends to send a signal of, "Watch out- I have some ulterior motive for my behavior." After learning more about Joe, many realize that he is inclined to make cruel comments about others behind their backs while simultaneously building their egos to their faces. Those around Joe eventually lose trust in him because he is acting as if he is genuinely interested in others, but his behavior suggests the opposite. Ultimately, others realize that Pete does not demonstrate authenticity- and he loses trust from others.

How about you? Do you struggle with accepting all of you- even the parts you don't really like

Do you believe that others see, know and  accept the "real" you- the one who is blend of positive characteristics along with all your human flaws? Do you spend the majority of your life trying to be better, stronger, happier, smarter, better looking- just more acceptable-than you really believe are? If you believe that you should improve in a certain area- and who doesn't need to do this?-which improvements are you focused most upon? Are you focused upon changing your thinking, your emotions, your heart - or are you focused only on how you can act differently so that you and others will see you in a certain (more acceptable) way? Are there unresolved issues from your past that have caused you to erect this invisible fence? If so, can you honestly say that you have done your part to resolve those differences?

Are you truly authentic- or are you truly just acting? That is the question we have to ask ourselves. I had mentioned in the earlier entry that it is what people do that creates personal credibility which makes people to trust you.  I would like to add one more to that: What you do needs to line up with what you really believe- if it doesn't, then others' inbuilt antennae will go on alert and trust will be difficult to establish.

If you are trying to be authentic and transparent and it is just an act, then that act itself blocks your authenticity. The only reason we activate our fence is to keep ourselves protected from someone or something. Why would we find a need to protect ourselves? It's because we all have some basic insecurities. We regularly asks ourselves questions like: Am I good enough> Do I really know enough? Am I really smart enough? And, based on how we really feel about that, the fence becomes more or less a part of who we are.

Some of us are fortunate enough to know exactly where we stand. We are human-each of us filled with self-belief and behaviors that run the gamut from glorious to not good! We  eventually recognize the only way to experience effective relationships is to deactivate the invisible fence and allow others to see the real person that we are. We finally accept our own positive traits- along with our human failures and warts. If unresolved conflict from the past is creating the fence, we make a sincere effort to resolve the conflict. We commit to working on our warts, and we don't ignore them or run from the fact they exist. When we do this, we are naturally more transparent, and we are able to experience relationships that are genuine and authentic. By doing this, we begin to trust ourselves, trust others, and gain others trust and respect. What are we doing? We are building credibility.

When others know you and believe you are authentic, you are more likely to build trust. And again when you inspire others to believe and have trust in you, you are building again credibility.


Trust factor Part III: In-built antennae

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Continuing on the trust factor, what are all the other factors which builds/destroys trust?

All of us know someone who has had a tendency to brag or enlarge the truth on a regular basis. One of the leaders I used to follow gave a powerful speech.  It was powerful. I can tell his style of delivery was impeccable, passionate. Towards the end of his speech, he quoted Rudyard Kipling(RK)'s If and  instead of giving credit to RK, he said he wrote it. My jaws dropped instantly and I was embarrassed to say the least. This person, over time loses credibility with people. Usually, this person is someone you would not describe as authentic or real.  Over time, you are likely to lose trust in anything this person says. Indeed, this person will definitely lose personal credibility as a result of this behavior. What is going on with the person?

The person most likely wants others to see him or her in a way that is different than what he/she believes about him/herself. One of my business coaches always used to tell " Express, but don't try to impress." If someone does this kind of bragging, your reaction will be , "If you can't be sincere and honest in what you say or how you share information, I can't trust you. You brag and enlarge the truth. You aren't for real. And if I can't trust you, I don't want a close relationship with you."  Ultimately the person has lost personal credibility because he/she has lost your trust.

Another group of people I find it difficult to trust are stiff  or somewhat stilted in their communication with me. It is difficult to get a sense of who this person really is. These are individuals who are likely to open up very little to anyone and reveals little about themselves. They keep everyone at arm's length-almost if there is a wall surrounding them. The result is that others find it difficult  to trust someone who is so unwilling to demonstrate openness and authenticity. The fence they have developed has created a distance with others, decreases trust, and, ultimately, decreases the opportunity for this person to building lasting trusting relationship with them.  Others will say "If you don't trust me to enough to be sincere and open, I really can't trust you either." Without trust from others, the individual loses credibility.

When someone behaves in a way that makes sense to us and inspires to trust him/her as being authentic and real, that person increases personal credibility. And the opposite is true as well. When we interact with someone who is unwilling or unable to be sincere or authentic, we lose trust.

Karthik, how do you know all of this? 

Some of it is by observation from other people. I am guilty for some of these and just like the title of my webpage says, "Striving for Excellence", I am trying to learn from my mistakes and so that I can learn from it and others can benefit from it as well.

I am currently in India and having a chance to observe more people, I am realizing how so many people are oblivious to their blind spots. For some of the people, blind spots can be blind zones. I am thankful to God for making me identify and rectify my blunders so that I can learn from them.

When someone is transparent, we can see through it. Nothing is hidden, no barriers exist, and nothing is covered up. When someone is transparent, we know that we are seeing the 'true' person. But transparency is more than being truthful- it is being truthful in a way that others can easily detect. When someone is transparent, and clearly demonstrates behaviors that others value and trust, personal credibility is much more easily achieved. The opportunity to be transparent and authentic is there for every human on earth.

All of us have an inbuilt antennae wherein we can interact with someone briefly and determine the person's  sincerity, authenticity and comfort with simply being themselves.

Individuals who possess strong personal credibility have an authenticity about them that is detectable. One such person who can think of immediately is my wife "Shobana". She gives an  "I am who I am impression to others." Typically, the more transparent people are, the less inclined they are at trying to impress others. Now, this doesn't mean they don't care about others or the impact they have on them-it is quite the opposite. It means simply that the focus is not on, "What are you thinking of me?' but instead on, "How can I better know and understand you?'.

People who are transparent in a positive and genuine way are typically self-accepting.  They understand that they are imperfect beings. They know they mess up, make mistakes and don't have all the answers, They are strong enough to accept this, and then go about the process of living their life by internally acknowledging imperfections and challenges- and learning from them.

Let us all do that as the bottomline for all relationships is trust. People love to have relationships with people whom they trust and respect. People love to build businesses whom they have trust. Let us work on these and make it happen!