Thank you for Changing my Life

Swash.JPGAs an entrepreneur, I started a company called SWASH (Skills, Wit and Attitude are shaped here) in 1997.

I designed a few courses to help children, adolescents and professionals to build confidence, ignite their motivation, and hone their public speaking skills. Apart from life skills and soft skills enhancement, I offered them my eyes to observe their heartfelt emotions, my ears to listen to their unsaid stories and my shoulder to lean on in distress.

Having trained thousands of participants in last fifteen years, I felt like asking them if SWASH still meant something to them. Three days ago, I closed my eyes and tried to remember as many names as I could from various years (from 1997 – 2007) .

I wrote around thirty names in under five minutes and posted a small note to them on Facebook. (I searched twenty of them on facebook, sent a friend request which was accepted within a minute. I was already connected to the rest)

In the note, I asked them:

  1. When did you join Swash (at what age) / What were you doing at that time?
  2. Do you remember how you felt at Swash? Do you still follow what you learnt?
  3. Do you honestly believe that a guide/coach can influence you forever?
  4. Did I touch your life, enrich it in some way or waves of time have wiped off all of it?

I wrote it because I missed my students so much. I wrote it because I wanted to know if life coaching really helps.

To my surprise, I received sixteen responses immediately which were all liners like

“I cannot forget you ever Ma’am”

“You are the best mentor I ever got, thank you for making me feel special once again.”

“A Pranam and a big hug to you, Madam”.

They all promised to send detailed answers (already got 5 this morning) but their immediate responses warmed my heart and nourished my soul.

Have you ever felt the same warmth and contentment?

It doesn’t hurt sometimes to ask your loved ones what you mean to them.

Swash

****

Dr. Swati Lodha is an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Come on get set go  &  Why Women are What they are, her book on Parenting will be published soon. Currently, she is running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with Dr. Swati Lodha on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read her best articles here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How well do I Fail? #BigIdea2016

Failure is Welcome 1

I learnt to fail early in life. I failed more as parents had high expectations from me. It is not about failing or realizing that you are failing. It is about how we respond to it. It is about how our environment responds to it.

A personal failure teaches lessons differently from a crisis which is related to family or workplace.

Childhood failures made me resilient.

I studied in a Central School where only children were present. Till middle school, I was unable to speak English which caused a lot of embarrassment in front of students from army background whose parents got posted to this remote town. They would bully me or laugh at me when I tried to speak in English. This sense of inadequacy made me struggle on my own. My father would subscribe to Reader’s Digest (I have a full collection of Reader’s Digest since 1969, thanks to him) (http://readersdigest.co.in/) and I would read it from cover to cover without understanding most of it. I persisted alone, spent nights with dictionaries, wrote word-meanings, underlined sentences and muttered to myself. I fell in love with English and turned around my failure.

I was short and failed in sports. As I didn’t enjoy it much and was generally the softest target during dodge ball and Kho Kho sessions, I accepted it. I chose a response of laughing with others at this weakness of mine. I learnt to celebrate this weakness by laughing at my failure at serious sports. (I tried tennis and badminton for two years before admitting it)

If parents allow children to fail naturally, it makes them confident for life. My 10th grade failure (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/do-good-storytellers-make-leaders-dr-swati-lodha?trk=mp-author-card) made me fearless for life. My parents and I learnt to welcome failure with that incident. It bonded us to fight any adversity head on.

Leaders who choose to befriend failure and transform it into a beautiful lesson and stepping stone can manage any crisis. Biggest life lessons come out of crisis – how we handle them and respect them.

All turnaround CEOs are not magicians. They are failure friendly and detached doers. They expect to fail, accept it and take actions objectively to turn it into a success. A detached leader would disrupt without getting emotional about the existing product or company.

I started my first venture SWASH as a unique learning ground for children and adolescents. I started it in 1997 when I was an MBA Student. Teenagers, students from engineering and medical colleges would come for month long courses and make relationships for life. By 2007, things started changing. I needed to scale it up but the way I used to invest myself in students; I didn’t find a way out.

I failed to create a team who could listen to youth, nurture them and guide them through their delicate and thorny adolescent years. My attachment to SWASH led to its failure. There is a great need for such institutions which can become anchors for talented youth and people in general but in a digital avatar perhaps.

Admitting failures as parents and leaders prepare us to fail better next time and create grander success.

Ask yourself – Do I respond well to failure? If you expect, accept and disrupt failure, you are gifting an amazing future to your children and your team.

Learn More – Follow Me (Dr. Swati Lodha)

5 Signs that you are failing as a Parent #Big Idea2016

photo-parent-child-riding-bikesIt is very important for me to keep a tab on my ability and competence as a parent. Just as I cannot take credit for success of my organisation, I would never desire credit for raising a happy, confident, value centric child.

Nevertheless, I would always keep assessing my parentability.

You are failing as a Parent:

  1. If you cannot disambiguate your childhood memories:

“When I was a child, I always polished my shoes.

When I was your age, I never asked for pocket money.

When I was in 10th grade, I got my first watch on topping my class.”

You are telling the truth to your children but what about the remaining truths like when you bunked your school, when your father found out about the love letter you wrote to a classmate or when you cried whole night to go for a friend’s wedding.

After becoming parents, we tend to have biased and selective childhood memories. We only remember our achievements, our niceties and our obedience as kids. We conveniently erase all the memories of heartache we gave to our parents.

If you hide your shortcomings, your defiance and misdeeds, you are hiding your true self.

  1. If you live under an “I know everything” umbrella: Though we prepare for every small test, every interview, we never prepare for playing the parent role. We just feel like gaining all the parental wisdom by ourselves. It is important for us to admit that we need to reinvent ourselves after we become parents. We need a potion of discipline – balance – patience to start the journey. It is prudent to learn and upgrade our knowledge consistently on the way.

If we fail to curate our technology use, if we fail to appreciate their web content and music downloads, we will not be able to observe the evolving of our children into the personalities that they want to become.

  1. If you tell and not show: If you tell your children not to use mobile phones on dinner table but you keep checking your messages between meals (urgent office work!), if you tell your kids to exercise while you create new excuses to avoid Yoga or Gym sessions every day, your instructions will have no impact. It is very difficult to be a 24X7role model but then whosoever told you that Parenting is a joyride was genuinely kidding.
  1. If comparison bug has stung you:

”How many marks did the topper get?

Who got the highest package?

Why don’t you be punctual like me?”

If you use such questions, you must be comparing yourself too with your friends, colleagues and anyone worthy of your attention.

It undermines your confidence and self esteem. It makes you feel inadequate and it robs you off of your uniqueness.

To future proof your kids, tell them to benchmark themselves against themselves resulting in gradual and steady improvement.

Winners are trend setters who focus on breaking their own records. They are winners not because they win but because they focus on self improvement.

It is a norm in my household that we never discuss grades / performance of any other child. “I am interested in your performance only” is my standard response to my daughter. Love yourself the way you are. Love your children the way they are.

  1. If you are not grateful enough: When people feel entitled to get the services of a servant, a driver, a waiter as they are paying for it, they will never be grateful for all that they have got.

An ungrateful parent can never raise a grateful child. If you fail to develop the attitude of gratitude for everything from a day well spent to luxuries of life, you fail as a human being.

ENTER 2016 WITH THESE POINTS TO PONDER. THIS IS A BIG IDEA NOT FOR A YEAR BUT FOR LIFE”.