P & L Lessons from Saina Nehwal

Saina Nehwal.jpgIndian superstar shuttler Saina Nehwal inspires so many of us through her consistent hard work and unflinching persistence.

With world number one position, an Olympics Bronze Medal, and titles like Indonesia Open and Australia Open under her belt, Saina has been one of the world top seeds in the last few years.

Still, she has lost six consecutive matches to a player, lower in achievement and ranking to her. Twenty one year old Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan defeated twenty six year old Saina for the Sixth time in three years.

Many leaders and parents fall prey to the same mistake as they fail to recognise its presence or fail to correct it.

Super achiever parents expect their children to be super achievers. They treat all their children to perform, competing with the best in their domain area. These children keep working incessantly to make their parents happy but such parents often overdo it as grandparents too when their skyrocketing expectations can play havoc with their grandchildren.

Parents refuse to agree that their burdensome expectations have always been traumatic. I meet so many parents who excel at justifying their actions without taking the psyche of their children into consideration. Parents need to revamp their parentability with each child and grandchild just as Saina need to change her strategy against Tai and refrain from making same old mistakes.

Phaneesh Murthy, a brilliant leader, was known for his business acumen and growth oriented vision. He was caught twice in sexual harassment cases at the height of his careers at Infosys (2003) and iGate (2012).

It is important for us to understand the recklessness involved in not paying attention to a mistake. We need to admit the mistake, apologise for the same, assure that it won’t happen again and then categorically abstain from repeating it.

Make a new mistake please!


Three mistakes of our Lives

Get on the Balcony

Most of us seek more happiness, more growth, more acknowledgement, more fame and of course, more money than what we have at present.

Most of us have many reasons like situations, lack of opportunities, use of unethical means or misfortune as impediments that block our road to glory.

Ronald .A. Heifetz talks about ‘getting on the balcony.’ It refers to separating oneself from the thick of action while action is on and move to a balcony upwards to have a macro view of the situation. If I am playing a match, when I get on the balcony, I can see my whole life in the playground, without a bias. I can see myself playing with respect to other players. I can see others making a pass and calibrating a move. I can feel the reactions of the audience and see my own actions.

When I get on the balcony, I realize three major mistakes on my part:

  1. I love stereotypes: Life is not a puzzle for us as we remember all the pieces and place them in the same way, again and again.

‘Men are from mars and love maps’, ‘Praying everyday makes us calm’, ‘Sharing the laundry makes me a good husband’ – are only the tip of our mental iceberg of stereotypes.

When I live my life by nursing some stereotypes, I don’t challenge anyone including myself and I contribute to maintaining the status quo.

Symbolic breaking of stereotypes through government plans and advertising is the biggest stereotype which creates 2 minutes iconoclasts and whistle blowers.

I love stereotypes because I love my comfort zone. I think of adaptive change, I hear about altering my perception and then, I chew eucalyptus leaves like a Kuala and enjoy my sleep.

  1. I love everyone around: I think about many successful friends and acquaintances. I like and comment on different social media platforms about various issues and happenings because I love my network.

When I consume my time and energy in thinking and analyzing all these people, I ignore my very self. I don’t dwell deep into my own dreams and aspirations because I benchmark, myself against my set of friends, colleagues and influencers.

This pseudo closeness to plethora of people takes me away from myself but close to shadows of others.

  1. I love hero worship: I love to gaze at all these super achievers who have made it big in sports, entertainment, business or academics. I am in awe of ace performers who top their lists.

We show respect to heads of institutions, stoop in front of leaders with formal authority. We worship charisma and power.

When we clap for heroes whose fame/power/formal authority wields control over us, we behave like fanatic fans. We ignore the unsung heroes who bring silent revolutions each day to make the heroic acts of the charismatic heroes possible.

When I am on the balcony, I realize that I love to make these mistakes over and over again because I resist change. I resist change because I resist loss. If I start rejecting stereotypes, I will lose comfort of my comfort zone. If I stop thinking about people and start focusing on adaptive change for myself, I will fear the loss of approving acquaintances and supportive friends.

If I will start valuing real unsung heroes, I will lose the larger than life feel that keeps my eyes wide open with admiration.

Do you resist change because you are scared of losing yourself with whom you have been living comfortably without getting on the balcony?



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.

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