Welcome to SIPM

Hello, this blog is run by by an ex-Project Manager who currently moved to Agile Consulting and this blog serves as the sounding board. Started in 2008 as a journal, today it combines both and extends to performance management and wellness of professionals.

When not working; she can be found reading with a cup of tea. She loves to read, push the envelope one step further, work on new ideas, travel and explore life.

This is what you should be doing


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What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

List down 3 items and find a way to get it done.

What would you need to get it done? More time, money, taking risks?

The biggest reason we don’t succeed is because we stand in our own way. So, here are some methods that are ruling the web.

Miracle Mornings is something I recently came across, you can listen to the audio book in YouTube. There’s clearly a buzz about it online and saw numerous people talking about it and how it has changed their lives. The goal is simple, get up early every morning and ensure you set your mood and pace by using visual boards and exercise to get things done.

The Secret-Law of Attraction has lots of followers including celebrities. It focuses a lot on visualization and here’s Oprah’s recount of how it worked for her 

Mental practice as they say can get you closer to where you want to be in life, and it can prepare you for success! “For instance, Natan Sharansky, a computer specialist who spent 9 years in prison in the USSR after being accused of spying for US has a lot of experience with mental practices. While in solitary confinement, he played himself in mental chess, saying: “I might as well use the opportunity to become the world champion!” Remarkably, in 1996, Sharansky beat world champion chess player Garry Kasparov!” Source

There could be multiple ways to work on your life goals without having to dedicate yourself full time. You don't need to quit your job, if you are not ready.

Most of the techniques is about you working on your willpower by visualizing you being successful or fulfilling your dream and then you create your way by working out early before you can give excuses.

So wake up, get up and get going!


(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

Decision Making: Why its so difficult?


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“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”   – Obama 


The term Decision Making itself sounds complex: you have to choose one over another. This seems to be about people who are rational and not impulsive, who gather data and analyses them without being impulsive and who have taken calculated risks and have eventually won.

But get ready for a surprise, decisions are supposedly taken more emotionally than rationally

So, how do you really decide?

Here's what Ruth Chang thinks......


A study suggests that it relies on two separate networks to do so: one that determines the overall value — the risk versus reward — of individual choices and another that guides how you ultimately behave. Perhaps that’s why we mostly choose the one that’s safe.

Some decisions are easier than others, like I decided to move countries much more easily with of course some amount of fear than the fact that I have been postponing driving in Hyderabad, India.
So, what allows me to make some decisions easily but others not… I am not sure. May be it’s the analysis of the reward and the threat. Moving countries seemed rewarding to me- new culture, better career, travelling and trying out cuisines which I all enjoy.

While driving for me mostly means fighting thoughts of crazy traffic, lack of strict rules or being stuck in traffic for hours and the eventual loss of freedom because  I can’t read or listen to anything while I drive.

So, I evaluate and decide, driving doesn’t seem like a very good idea even though rationally I should be driving to save me loads of money and flexibility of time.

Have you ever made a decision than turned into a bad one?

Creativity- How to bring it back in your life?

Who do you consider to be a creative?

Are they people who have the freedom to pursue their art, are they people who value their freedom- freelancers and artists? What about you? 

All of us are creative as a child, as we get trained more and more in our schools we all fall for the mundane, we forget who we are and become what we are expected to be.
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Creativity as it seems comes with a price, in her article Nancy C. Andreasen, who is the Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and the former editor in chief of The American Journal of Psychiatry talks about creative people having it either passed on via generations or have higher rates of mental illness “The creative subjects and their relatives have a higher rate of mental illness….The most-common diagnoses include bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety or panic disorder, and alcoholism. 

There could be extreme cases of eccentricities involved for a lot of creatives, however in regular life to extract more satisfaction from life creativity is of utter importance. It could be an author who breaks into the publishing scene and takes the world by storm like J. K. Rowling., it can be content creators who look at life differently and are able to replicate that in their content and gain huge followers through the social media platform, it can be poets like Rupi Kaur whose poetry has been in controversies but has rightly brought in the young generation in touch with themselves through words and not selfies.

So, where is creativity for you and me while we are part of regular jobs?

Image result for creativeWell, creativity still needs sustenance and that could mean the fact you have a job is a good thing.  You are free to spend here and there for things you love to engage in like a local pottery class or take a class or travel. Creativity isn’t limited to a certain profession any longer. And as it turns out “depending on the stage of the creative process, and what you’re actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handlethe task.”  


So creativity is not only a breath of fresh air it’s actually good for the brain health. Multiple ways we can still encourage ourselves to be creative:
  • Find out what interests you, mind mapping is a great technique to find out what you like
  • Learn/practice something new – It’s said that creatives are better self-learners than learning from others by being spoon fed. If you are looking for great deals, find out the offerings/giveaways of bloggers as well. You might get a month free or sometimes courses half off. 
  • Find the time for yourself (self-care), sabbaticals might not be for everyone however why not try remote working once a month and use the time for commutes to try out something new..
  • It doesn’t have to be perfect to start with, its okay to fail. I struggle with this a lot because I feel I have to be at par with the best. Over the years I am okay to try out something new even when I know its not at its best. 
  • Stop thinking about what others think while you plan a solo vacation. Do things what interests you. Here are 12 habits of successful creatives.   
(Pic courtesy: Google Images)



Whats going on: updates, blog, life and more

Feb 22, 2018 | | 0 comments |

Blog-I hav been blogging for a while now and over the time I realised my interests have grown with me and there are more things that i do or are interested in than when I started the blog years ago.

I also now know that to bring our best version to work, the inner state of mind is way more important than how many certifications we have for the job. There's more research and publication now readily available to understand that and that's where I have been investing my time in terms of reading.

I also wasn't quiet sure, how I would like to the blog to shape up and grow with me.......while I enjoy what I do, i would also like to bring more of the inner game here, so you grow with me via the blog.
I think what it would really be, is to have a theme or category in the publications and undertake various things in it. Basically, more of a lifestyle blog for the professionals.


Life- I started this year with returning from a lovely vacation and have taken the time to sort my head. There were days, I wanted to know what more can I offer to my work life, there are days i went to bed at 7.30pm (for almost  a month) because I felt tired and fidgety because i wasn't sorted. So i slept.... in the process of trying to know myself through readings, listening to some great stuff over the web and ideating and scribbling and doing nothing- i now know what I really want to do.

SIPM- the platform where mentors and mentees can meet has been down for a while now. I really wanted to give back to the community that has done so much for me and thats why I had created that platform with the help of my friends. I also thought it would be  a great setup to have a platform where anyone could have a mentor from anywhere in the world and you don' have to write hundreds of emails to do that. Thats why mentors signed up, professionals  who were also interested in giving back  and signed up saying I would love to mentor. I didn't make a dime out of it perhaps because I never considered it to be a business model and I know a lot of you have used it over the years and I couldn't be more thankful. I created for you, what I wish I had for me when I was starting out.

It also means that I have to keep on investing on it and with a lot going on now I am not sure if I really have the time to dedicate my time towards it. At one point i was ready to announce for anyone else to take it over and do  better marketing about the wonderful site than I have done.  For now its on hold, I havent fixed the website and I am rethinking. Would you like it to come back?

Others- there are other smaller interests that are cropping up and I am not sure if I can manage the time to invest myself in all of it it, I will give it a bit more of time and then probably take the final call. However, what I do know is that I would love to be more involved with my audience, people like you who have been reading the blog for a while now. It could be actually getting serious with my youtube channel, or creating a series of coaching sessions, a book and launching products that inspires all of us to look inward and find our inner game.

Has this New Year been different for you?

(Pic courtesy: Soma Bhattacharya, Paris 2017)


4 things I will be doing this year

Jan 6, 2018 | 0 comments |
Happy New Year to you. And while I am back in town and done with my 3 weeks of travel, there's always the resolutions to plan for.

Create Better Content- The plans are lofty and this means I have to keep the consistency going and plans effective. That's work in itself. I want to be more creative with my content which means learning new skills to ensure I can present my idea better.
So,if I have to ensure that I don't wall off the wagon and fail the resolution, here’s way to train and rewire your subconscious mind to the goal 


Be Mindful of my Health- Last year i have been consistent about exercising and eating right the most I have ever been and have seen the benefits first hand.This year, I hope to continue the journey and read and learn more. The only way that works for me to keep me motivated is to watch people talking about their health and lifestyle.

Get Better at Finance- This is a new terrain for me, I have done this on and off and I am not good at this at all. I dont read up much on managing personal finance and I always assumed it will take care of itself. The only content I watch is the TFD  and while I do enjoy the content, I want to get a little bit serious about it and give it a shot.

De-clutter and Decor-This last one is personal, I have been thinking about redoing the the apartment and this is the year for it to get the face lift. I also realised recently how much of clutter I have carried around and accumulated over the years. So, major decluttering will happen sooner than later.


How are you handling your New Year so far?

(Pic courtesy: Soma Bhattacharya)

Merry Christmas

Dec 24, 2017 | 0 comments |
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas 🎄

Thank you for reading my blog and continuing to inspire me.

3 Things to do before you wrap up 2017

Lets get straight to the point, the year just went by.

  • Revise your job profile and interest- because you have a specific job title doesn't mean you cannot rethink or change it. The goal is to always be updated and be in a job that aligns with your interests. This means:
      • Observe the market shifting- and get yourself a new certification or  learn something new. Websites like Coursera allow you to enrol for them without having to pay a dime. You join the course of your choice and learn and if you want the certification you can pay.
  • Be thankful and take a break- to revise your goal and intentions you need to remove yourself from the current environment. You can reset your goals every quarter or once in two years. This means you dont need a sabbatical to decide the course of your life- it could be couple of hours in your favorite coffee shop.  For me personally, this year (in fact starting today), I am taking a couple of weeks off where I can travel and revise my goals.
  • Find  a sponsor- mentors are life changing but a sponsor is mandatory. A sponsor is also rather difficult to find,someone who will play a very active role in promoting you and ensuring you are in a role that interests you and climbing up the ladder.  3 ways to find a sponsor:
      • Have a work ethic- project your work personality and what you stand for.
      • Talk about your goal/career path- figure out where you want to career path to be at and then talk about it with your manager, mentors and sooner or later you will find your sponsor. 
      • Prove your worth- this is a no brainer, you have to prove you have it in you and are ready to work for it. No one will be willing to take a risk on you otherwise.
(Pic courtesy: Google images)

Interactions within Agile Teams- The SCARF Model


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“In a world of increasing interconnectedness and rapid change, there is a growing need to improve the way people work together. Understanding the true drivers of human social behavior is becoming ever more urgent in this environment.”- David Rock

We talk about creating self-organizing team and encouraging team dynamics in Agile but what we forget to mention is how it should be done. This is where SCARF model comes in- Social neuroscience explores the biological foundations of the way humans relate to each other and to themselves. From this a theme emerges from social neuroscience- Firstly, that much of our motivation driving social behavior is governed by an overarching organizing principle of minimizing threat and maximizing reward.

Which simply put means we have to ensure our Lizard brain (the part which tells you not to change, take a risk and ensure you continue to live by keeping you safe from trying out unknown things) doesn’t feel threatened at any point.


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The SCARF model involves five domains of human social experience: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, relatedness and Fairness. These 5 domains will either trigger the rewards or the threat thought process.  This also means even during conversations you want to “rewards” trigger to go. This will ensure positive discussion and participation plus engagement.

Certainty and Autonomy out of the five is directly related to you. For example- do you feel empowered that you can make your decision in the current job title? The empowerment  cannot be influenced by anyone else.

The other three Status, Relatedness and Fairness are all influenced by “others”…. Like do you feel you are treated fairly?

So, this is a mix bag of social influence which allows you to feel empowered and positive or otherwise. The dynamics can be created, so if you are a team member or scrum master or manage a team- you need to ensure that these 5 fundamental cornerstones are all in the positive side of things. If by using all of these, we can ensure that a sense of fulfillment, balance and progress within team members can be created- the self-organization will start forming very soon.

Here are 3 ways to build on the improve the team collaboration:·
  • Explain the change (why) - don’t enforce without talking about the big picture.
  • Show why it matters to them(how)- how it can impact them and what usually happens
  • What is expected from a specific role (what)- being articulate about the responsibility of a scrum team/member

If we are successful in ensuring all of these are considered, the team  dynamics and communication will be positive. 

(Pic courtesy: Google images)

Walking Past Your Fear

Have you been scared and still done it anyway? Bungee jumping or public speaking?

Today I wanted to talk about why being scared and still going ahead with it is okay. Everyone starts somewhere even the greatest of speakers or writers. So, why not you?

The job of one part of our brain (reptilian) is to ensure we stay safe and discourages us from trying out new things. The basal ganglia is referred to as the reptilian or primal brain, as this structure is in control of our innate and automatic self-preserving behavior patterns, which ensure our survival and that of our species. We might not be living in the same world as primitive man, but we are still met with threatening and potentially dangerous situations. The brainstem is responsible for keeping us safe now, as it was for early man. The health and functioning of this brain region largely determines our ability to detect and respond to threats. At the most basic level, the brainstem helps us identify familiar and unfamiliar things. Familiar things are usually seen as safe and preferable, while unfamiliar things are treated with suspicion until we have assessed them and the context in which they appear (More here).

So when you feel shaky about taking the stage- its your brain telling you its risky and something new... just stay in the couch, that's something you are used to.

The choice is always there and its yours to make, do you want to stay a newbie for the rest of your life or you want to make that touch call and speak up and ask a questions, volunteer for an opportunity or ask for more responsibility. The difference between those who have done well and who are still waiting is earlier has been scared and still gone ahead and tried something new. Its also Growth Mindset.

Here are 33 ways to overcome your fear and when you decide you are ready, here's a video to watch- Growth Mindset simplified. This is how I am working around my fears :)



 

(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

Growth Mindset- Why you should have it?

If you have ever wondered why some people continue growing in their job/business and some stagnate- this is perhaps the post for you.

The concept of Growth Mindset was first introduced in the book Mindset: The new Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck .

The Stanford professor in an article in HBR talks about what the Growth Mindset shouldn’t be confused with:

  • People confuse it with being flexible or open minded
  • Is about praising and rewarding the effort
  • Good things will happen if you have a growth mindset
So, what is a Growth mindset?

“Growth Mindset thrives on challenges and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening spring board for growth and for stretching existing abilities.”

Read more here 

The questions is- how can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and as a result your life? The Growth mindset creates a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval.

So, how can you implement the growth mindset in your life?

Being aware of the two mindsets and knowing that the Growth Mindset requires taking risks and wandering off into unknown territories where you might not succeed but that is okay- because you will learn out of it.


Don’t get motivated because you don’t know much about a job profile/interest/hobby and you are terrified of failing. Not everyone fails and you have to take the first step.

This leads to believing in yourself :
1.Create a positive environment
2.Affirm your beliefs
3.Don’t hangout with naysayers- take their perspectives and improve on it
4.Celebrate learning’s





               So, if you are a newbie the mindset will be a game changer for you. Now you can go back at think about your mentor and realize why they have been doing so well- am sure they have a growth mindset too.

              You can read more about Growth Mindset here:


              (Pic courtesy: Google Images)