The AHA Model of Parenting and Leadership


I come across many parents who vociferously admire the drive of their children while whispering about some lack of gratitude.

I come across the HR Heads with whom I have discussions about Level 5 Leadership and how to bring Group Cohesion between Generation X and millennials.

It is becoming imperative for us to gear up for an innovative nudge in the family as well as corporate space.

AHA Model, if applied consistently, can give us balanced individuals, children and future leaders.

AMBITION: Having a purpose, figuring out a path to reach that purpose and following it with perfection will never go out of fashion. Having a drive to excel at something should always be a lifeline. Jack Ma’s drive to learn English as a school boy turned the tide in his favor by inculcating a continuous ‘ambition’ in him.

Ambition is not competition. It is not envious. It is focused on oneself.

If parents can learn constantly to nudge children towards striving for excellence in daily chores like tiding up the room or folding clothes, it becomes an attitude. If leaders constantly nudge team members towards the same in intangible areas like receiving a guest, promoting a save energy campaign, excellence becomes a daily ambition.

HUMILITY: The linear approach of parents makes it difficult for them to give humility lessons to children. Inspiring them to achieve goals and nudging them to stay grounded are opposing forces which need to be balanced. It comes easy when achievement is not celebrated as special but accepted as way of life. It comes easy when children experience gratitude around them. A feeling of entitlement creeps in from the beginning if parents treat their children as special and become “Yes Parents” or “Designer Parents”.

Leaders need to set goals and achieve them with undivided focus and clarity. They need to keep their teams motivated to reach targets. The tight rope walk requires them to be stern and aggressive. Yet, it is important rather imperative to feel empathy and evoke trust. Humility keeps a leader rooted while ambition enables them to soar high.

ADAPTIVITY: After realizing the importance of being humble as well as ambitious, the most crucial part is to be adaptive. As parents and leaders, we need to assess, adapt and act – Assess the situation to decide to be humbly ambitious or aspirationally humble.

It is important for us to realize that life is not about happy or sad endings. It is not about being a saint or a sinner. It is not about being either ambitious or humble. It is about being adaptive to experience happiness as well as sadness, to value virtue as well as vice, to imbibe ambition with humility.

If we nurture our roots with humility and fuel our wings with ambition, we will become those adaptive individuals who can show their children and their teams to be humbly ambitious.


I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

Being Emotionally Intelligent Is Important – Part 2

Emotional Intelligence 2.jpgMy this article was first published on on 28th May, 2016

While attending an Executive Education Program at Harvard Kennedy School of Governance, we were given an emotional intelligence test – wherein we were shown a pair of eyes with four choices of emotions being depicted by that pair of eyes. We were shown 20 pairs, 10 seconds each to tick the answer we felt was right.

The top five scorers were women and the highest score was a seventeen over twenty. A higher score meant a higher & deeper understanding of other people. In other words, it showed the higher emotional intelligence of women.

While the previous article emphasized on self-awareness and self-management, I will focus on remaining two parameters of emotional intelligence – social awareness and social skills in this article.

Social Awareness: Women are conditioned to put others before them. They think about needs of their family members before their own. When they walk into corridors of power, they still think about other team members, subordinates and staff members before themselves. Women leaders empathise better than the male counterparts and it becomes their asset. They put themselves in others’ shoes and understand their stories. They care more and their actions reflect their empathy. Apart from empathy, social awareness includes organizational awareness and service – orientation.

It has always been an area of concern that number of women at senior levels in any organization is negligible as compared to the number of women at the entry level. Though the reasons cited for this anomaly are many, ranging from ‘their family responsibilities’ to ‘their lack of ambition’, I feel that women lack organizational awareness – the ability to read the currents of organizational life, build decision networks and navigate politics. It is further fueled by attitude of men in senior positions who do not take conscious interest in mentoring women professionals.

From the beginning of their careers, women need to keep voicing their career plans. They should distinguish between long term and short term goals and build their profile and make networking a routine and priority activity.

Many women have conveyed it through their experiences that male bonding during informal get-togethers, off sites impacts decision making, tuning the women contenders out of major assignments. We, as women, must keep pushing gently into organizational politics by staying aware about what is happening around.

What women lose in organizational awareness, they make up for it through their excellent service orientation. Being excellent at recognizing others needs, they gauge customers’ needs better and ensure customer satisfaction.

Chanda Kochar & Shikha Sharma, mentored by ICICI’s Ex-Chairman KV Kamath are known for their excellent service orientation.

Young working women must keep their social awareness high by being empathetic, service oriented and aware about organizational networks and politics.

Social Skills: Emotional Intelligence gives an edge to a working woman and sets her apart from the rest. A woman like Sheryl Sandberg is extremely emotionally intelligent as she manifests superb social skills. She shows visionary leadership by inspiring others with her compelling vision.

She has started “Lean In Circles” which are small peer groups that meet regularly to learn and share from working women. A circle can be a monthly round table at a member’s house, a regular lunch or even a virtual meet–up. I see many enterprising young women in the digital space who are providing much needed support to young women entrepreneurs on sites like Mompreneurs India and many such groups. These groups have thousands of young women members who act as catalysts for each other and support each other to excel.

Indian women should strive to create a unified voice which communicates ‘a clear passionate wish for professional advancement’. Since many women do not promote each other, get into petty arguments, they lose the big chunk of professional pie. A network of emotional intelligent women would be high on communication. ‘Women talk in kilograms but communicate in milligrams’ is the general conventional idea which needs to change.

We, as women, must develop listening skills and skills to send clear, convincing and well – tuned messages.

If women become better conflicts managers, nobody would be able to hinder their career goals. It is important for us to learn to de-escalate disagreements and orchestrate resolutions. Being assertive but not aggressive is the key to express our emotions in a dignified manner.

Digital development has enabled women to network with ease and stay abreast with everything happening around them. Earlier, a woman at home would be disconnected from the professional front and thus lagged behind after a few years.

Now, a woman who decides to extend her maternity break or takes a sabbatical for adolescent children/elderly parents stays in touch with her colleagues and connects with many others through different online groups, meet-ups and blogging sites.

A Mom Bloggers Club connects more than 23,000 women online to give them a global exchange of ideas and support.

Groups of women entrepreneurs on social networking sites empower them to showcase their business products and services while staying at home. Enterprising women are ready to network with other women through these online enablers which are transparent and ethical. The admins of such groups ensure that rules are obeyed by all community members. They manage the groups with utmost sincerity and focus.

Know yourself, dwell deep within to discover yourself, connect with people, offer your empathy and understanding, create your online and offline presence, feel confident and act motivated wherever you are.

It is not difficult for a woman to practice emotional intelligence if she decides to do so. What are you waiting for?


I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

 I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

Being Emotionally Intelligent Is Important!

This article was first published on  on 11th May, 2016

Being Emotionally Intelligent Is Important!

Emotional Intelligence 1.jpg

A thirty year old successful chartered accountant called me. She had been a participant of my workshop around eight years ago. She narrated her life story in a few minutes and it sat me thinking. She married the guy she loved after a four year courtship but wanted to get separated after a year. She seemed unhappy with her work too as it was stressful. Her voice sounded lifeless, her tone hardened. Since I generally remember my workshops participants and their personalities long after their completion of workshops, I often talk and meet many of these young people whom I guided as adolescents.

When I met these young, ambitious working brigade of girls and boys, I often wonder – they are intelligent (have a look at their grades and packages) and they are emotional (they show them through their reactions). But are they emotionally intelligent? Perhaps not.

Daniel Goleman explains the four pillars of emotional intelligence as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills.

For personal and professional happiness, women need to strengthen all the four parameters. This article will focus on the first two pillars while the next article will cover the remaining two.

Self-Awareness: Women, since childhood get conditioned by expectations of others. If they are given a social rule book to follow at an early age, they bend their personalities to fit in the mould of social approval. As a result, they fail to assess their own emotions. When girls are not aware about their own emotional well-being, they lead a life designed by others. They never feel at home because they have never asked themselves:

  1. What makes me happy, excited, and ecstatic?
  2. What makes me sad, frustrated and depressed?
  3. What makes me angry and furious?
  4. What makes me feel like I have achieved something?
  5. What makes me feel loved, valued and respected?
  6. What do I love to do?
  7. What do I dislike or fear in people/situations?
  8. What scares me?

If a woman can answer these questions personally and professionally, she would gain emotional awareness about herself. She would be able to read and understand her own emotions which will surely help her to improve her work performance and relationships.

Each woman must evaluate her strengths and weakness with a realistic eye, so that she is well aware of her place in the sun.

A girl pampered by her parents will not be able to face the world. At the same time, a woman needs to talk and show her strengths at the workplace. A silent worker in the name of being righteous works wonders for others. There is no harm in claiming credit for what you have done. Highlight your strengths and dilute your weaknesses. You will be able to do so only when you know about them.

Self-awareness means being aware about your self-worth. Lot of people around us love to demoralise us or play with our confidence. Many superiors would use demotivating language in the name of giving constructive feedback. An emotionally self-aware woman would be able to differentiate between honest, valid feedback and deprecating, jealous feedback.

Assess your self-worth yourself. If you feel confident, you act confident and you don’t empower others to play with your self-worth.

I met a young mother who was working as an administrative assistant. She said “No one in my family ever expected me to study for a lucrative career. Even I did not expect much from myself as no one else did”. She never tried to assess her own potential as she only believed in what others wanted her to believe.

Self-Management: To be emotionally intelligent, a woman must be good at regulating her habits, behaviour and value system. Women tend to go overboard with their emotions sometimes. If a man cries during an interview (Thank You Kapil Dev), he is considered human, but if a woman does so, she is termed weak.

We need to be honest with our emotions but regulate their expression. It is prudent to control our impulsive responses in formal work environment.

Though woman are adaptive to changing situations and overcoming obstacles. I witness an unwelcoming change these days. Millennia’s get upset when they don’t get their way. Adaptability doesn’t come easy to them.

Self-Management includes a drive to achieve excellence in the chosen area of interest with readiness to seize opportunities.

An emotionally intelligent woman is balanced. She doesn’t shy away from starting conversation or blowing a whistle.

She would be ready to go to unimaginable lengths to prove her presence under the sun.

When I spoke to start up enthusiast Sweta Mangal who launched ambulance services in many states through Ziqitza Healthcare, she shared her experience.

“I started the venture with three of my friends when a personal tragedy made us realize the need. I have worked as CEO of the company for eight years. Then I stepped down from day to day responsibilities as I became a mother.” She has just launched a medical app called MUrgency to facilitate medical services online. The sheer detachment from one role and a mature transition into another speaks volumes about the emotional intelligence of this passionate woman.

If a woman is emotional and academically intelligent, it is a half battle won. To win the full battle, to enhance personal happiness and professional success, we must hone our emotional intelligence by becoming more aware about ourselves.


I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

Jealously Yours

This post was first published on – 07th April, 2016.


Jealousy Yours.png


This social epidemic rampant in almost all close relationships is palpable, yet not accepted. We get our daily dose of the J word. It attracts us like the forbidden fruit. The closer we are, deeper are the seeds of jealousy. When we all fail, we feel sad, but when our best friend comes first, we feel worse.

A workshop participant of mine had appeared for her Pre-PG Exam after finishing her MBBS. Her husband also appeared for the same exam. When the result was declared, the husband checked the list on the college notice board and found that he had secured fifth rank. He could not find his wife’s name in the list and called her to console her. She told him to send her a picture of the list as she was confident of clearing the exam.

She saw the list and immediately called the husband.

“I have got the first rank.”
“What? How come?”
“How did you miss it?”
“I checked thrice but I checked below the fifth rank only”.

She shared the incident in the workshop and stirred several emotions. The husband felt worse when he realized that his wife fared better than him. Though he tried to hide his feelings and tried to justify his oversight, the wife got a bitter shock. Jealousy breeds in the funniest of ways and at the weirdest of places.

When others get what I am seeking: I experience the J factor when my friend gets the job that we both had applied for, when someone else marries my girl, when I lose the election. I wallow in self-pity, I feel extremely jealous when I am a complete loser. It is the most difficult to handle as there is no consolation prize available.

When others get more than me: I experience the J factor when my friend gets better rank than me though we both get selected, when his films enters the 200 crores club while mine is a little behind. In this situation, all is not lost, but jealousy still stimulates the loss. I try to justify to reduce the gap. I try to find innovative faults with the ranking and marking system to cushion the blow. This jealousy is competitive and continuous because the tides can change.

When my emotions overpower me: This J factor could be imaginary or exaggerated. When I feel that my parents love my younger sibling more, when I feel that the other girl looks better than me, when I feel that I am being ignored after the new entrant in our team. I start being an emotional freak. It could cause a breakdown or meltdown of several emotions leading to high voltage drama.

When I want to be a winner forever: This J factor is the most destructive and dangerous. When I can’t face failure, when I don’t know how to handle a no, when I firmly believe that I am the centre of the universe, I get jealous of every other achiever who is admired or loved. This unreasonable attitude could cause violent jealousy attacks leading to crimes.

Jealousy is universal. We all have experienced the bittersweet taste of this emotion. Let us not hide it. Let us not allow it to take deep roots. Let us accept it and tame it through honesty and positivity.

About the Author

About Author

I am vulnerable, so what?

1‘I am artistic, not an artist’, said a friend who has been painting for a pretty good time.

“Why?” I asked.

“Everyone is so confident and self-assured these days that it scares me. I am not so sure of myself and I feel better that way”.

This sat me thinking. Are we actually as confident and sure of ourselves as we portray?

Do we feel that being humble, a little vulnerable or little unsure is a sign of being weak?

We all love to be experts and specialists and there is nothing wrong with it. We work hard to attain knowledge and experience in our domains.

But why are we obsessed with stability, surety and perfection?

  1. It keeps us in control of situations: I invited a senior Professor of Engineering for a Faculty Development Program. The revered academician said, “I love a class which asks questions I can’t answer. But I definitely attempt it and generally we reach a solution.”

His most valuable advice was, “Discard your notes (it was not the Power Point era a decade ago) once you come out of your class”.

When you repetitively teach your class using the same notes, same slides, you have a phenomenal mastery over the content and immaculate control over the class.

Don’t delete the whole presentation, don’t discard all the content and make it completely chaotic in the beginning. At least, keep some time for genuine exploration where you collectively search new grounds or discuss unquestioned possibilities.

Can we come out of the garb of being an expert who knows it all and humbly wear a facilitator’s hat who is ready to dive deep into the domain?

An improvised lesson could be better than a revised one.

Can we allow a little window of newness to open in our self-assured, controlled lives?


  1. We want to be perceived as perfect: I cannot forget the book launch of my second book titled “Why woman are, what they are? In 2005, Nandita Das released the book to a packed auditorium. I was to speak about my journey writing that book, before her. She had prepared a nice speech which she showed to me before the event.

When I started speaking, I talked about various experiences during writing that book and it overwhelmed me to an extent that I spoke and wiped my tears all along. With a choked throat, I thanked various amazing women and men whom I valued. I finished after fifteen minutes. Thankfully, there was no fear of smudging the eyeliner or peeling of foundation as I didn’t wear any make-up.

I poured my soul in the speech and didn’t realise that I was being watched by more than five hundred people around me.

There was a big round of applause that I did not hear but saw later in the video recording. However, that is not important. When Nandita came on microphone, she kept the prepared papers aside and spoke from her heart.

I can feel the happiness of those moments vividly even after a decade because we did what we truly felt. We did not care about how we will be perceived by others.

Crying or making it emotional does not make it authentic, letting go of your fear to be perfect does.

There is a thin line between being authentic and playing it to the gallery which only we can know.

We must experience some absolutely pure moments in our lives where we don’t belong to anyone, anything but ourselves, without pretence and ego.

Such moments keep us happy in our skin and prompt us to take our lives less seriously.

Share such moments where you connected completely with yourself ignoring the ‘controlled freak’ or ‘perfectionist’ in you.


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!

I am not enjoying what I am doing.

BoredomYesterday, I received two calls. A young student, 8 months into his job, wanted to quit.

A young assistant professor, mother of a two year old, wanted to quit.

On asking the reason, both said, “I am not enjoying what I am doing.”

I posed a battery of questions to both:

  1. What are your expectations from a job right now vis-à-vis your competence and experience?
  2. What can you do to improve the current job?
  3. What is your definition of “enjoying”?
  4. Are you happy with your pay check?
  5. Do you have other options?
  6. Do you want to explore self employment?

To my surprise, they were both happy with their pay, had no other options and had not thought about self employment.

To my horror, they had no answer to my first three questions.

Enjoyment, Seriously?

Haven’t we started living for ‘enjoying’ only? At the top of it, we don’t know what we enjoy for long.

Can we enjoy our life the way we enjoy having an ice cream cone?

Can we enjoy every minute of our job the way we enjoy meeting our beloved?

Can we enjoy the drudgery of our daily routine the way we enjoy a short ad film?

I can see your head tilting sideways.

Does that mean our routine, our job, our life should be altered?

With patience plummeting, attention span dwindling, our sense of enjoyment has become sporadic and momentary.

Earlier, we could watch a three hour film but now, we can hold on to our attention till the popcorn bucket lasts.

We open a new tab on our laptop screens, while the previous tab is struggling to open.

A low battery sign on mobile phone is enough for us to feel like we have lost our dear most companion.

In a fickle feeling lifestyle, our enjoyment quotient changes at the speed of light. A good discounted buy cheers us up while staring at our phone for a message reply for few minutes puts us off. Routine, mundane tasks at workplace suck and clicks from short trips rock,.

Don’t we need to wake up, think and write down answers to the first three questions?

  1. What are your expectations from a job right now vis-à-vis your competence and experience?

It is very important for us to be SELF AWARE. Having a correct idea about our own competence goes a long way in objectively deciding about which job to leave and when? Actually, Self Awareness helps us in taking all the crucial decisions.

  1. What can you do to improve the current job?

Our current job and current life can be largely improved by our mindset. Criticizing, comparing and complaining will never help us in our workplace or life space but proactive action would.

  1. What is your definition of “enjoying”?

I think the trouble lies in starting with a wrong premise – The purpose of my life is to enjoy. Let us change this Short – Lived, fickle premise and move on. Find concrete reasons to make life altering decisions. Boredom is not a reason enough.


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!

How giving are we as Parents and Leaders?

Joy of givingThere was an old woman who would climb up to this small church with a small bag clutched in her hand. After saying her prayers, she would sit on the stairs, take out a blue stone from her small bag, look at it for some time and then move back. A young boy would see her every day. He was attracted towards that blue stone. On Christmas day, he went to the old woman and wished her.

“God bless you. What do I give you?” she asked.

“I want the blue stone that you have.” He blurted out.

Within a second, the lady handed over the blue stone to the boy. The bag was empty after that. The boy was ecstatic to receive the stone and rushed back home. Christmas and the blue stone kept him in high spirits throughout the day. At night, he kept the blue stone under his pillow and went off to sleep. Sleep eluded him that night.

Perturbed, he went to the church next morning. The old lady was climbing up as usual. He rushed to her.

“I want something from you”, he said.

She smiled and pointed at the empty bag.

“No, I want your feeling because of which you gifted the only precious possession you had. Please give me that valuable feeling” he requested.

She smiled. “I have many precious possessions that I can give you”, she said. “A smile, a helping hand, a blessing“.

It is difficult to give away whatever is precious to us. Values and valuables – can be and should be shared.

In today’s time, it is difficult to give time, concern and attention. Rather than giving likes and comments on social media, how nice it will be to give some real time to our children without mobiles in our hand.

Rather than compiling presentations full of jargon and feel good data, how valuable it will be to give some real empathy and human attention to our colleagues.

The art of giving and receiving is becoming scarce. Giving with happiness and receiving with gratefulness are a depleting phenomenon. Let us learn to develop an attitude of giving and gratitude.

Donating and giving are different. Donating is easier as we give what we have enough of. If we give what we don’t have enough, we give a bit of ourselves in the form of our time, concern and empathy. That will be a real gift.

Receiving with gratitude is to remember it eternally. We should not want to return a help or a favour to the same person who extended it to us. We should try to at least give it to someone who needs it. A chain of giving and receiving binds all of us together. Let us start today.

3 Ways to manage Conflict at Home and Work Place

Conflicts are inherent to our social life. They are integral to growth and change. We face conflicts within, we experience conflicts when dealing with various people in family, in social circles and at workplace.

Conflicts are latent in the beginning and start developing if not addressed in the beginning only. We as individuals intend to deny the conflict in the nascent stage but when it starts causing symptoms like frustration, unhappiness, frequent disagreement, we have to recognize the existence of a certain conflict; we need to find ways to manage the conflict before it turns into an aggressive one.

Many organizational leaders have admitted that they learn conflict management skills from their mothers and wives who succeed in handling many conflicts using various techniques – early handling of conflict, continuous negotiating or building up rapports with many people.

A homemaker deals regularly with a fleet of domestic help, maid, driver, grocery vendors, and service providers for gadgets. A mother deals with sibling conflicts, conflicts of kids with her / family and her inner conflicts. Extended families in India intensify or pacify conflicts depending on their personnel equation with you or your family.

If we are able to solve the conflicts arising in our families, they teach us lessons to manage organizational conflicts.

  • A keen observation of each family member gives us a fair idea about their thoughts, behavior and expectations. Our observations can help us smell the brewing conflicts before they become too strong to handle.
  • Unmet expectations cause major conflicts which can be handled by effective communication. When we dive deep within, we can see the seeds of dissent / disagreement that are causing the conflict. Discussion with the other person using assertive and empathetic words can resolve the conflict.
  • Feeling of possessiveness and a desire to control leads to many conflicts in the family. Ego clashes and a bossy attitude kill many relationships in the organisations. It is very important for seniors in the family and leaders in the organisations to have emotional intelligence (self awareness) to deal with their self love. Hierarchies are getting smoothened at unprecedented pace, let us imbibe that.

The major conflict hotbeds in a family: mother – in – law & daughter – in – law, husband – wife, sibling – sibling, parent – offspring create more conflict scenarios than many organisations and offer multiple, creative solutions too.

The biggest difference though is the way we look at conflicts in family and conflicts at work.

In family, we try to accept the differences and develop coping strategies as we think life term (not short term or long term). In organisations, we manage conflicts with a ‘fix it’ approach and we have a choice of keeping it short term or letting it go.

Keeping a check on egos, expectations, possessiveness can nip a lot of familial conflicts in the bud. Families flourish when difference of opinions / choices is respected and long term happy togetherness is cherished as a goal.