Applying the Principles of Fearlessness and Balance to Achieve Your Goals
‘Ghata-sthapana’ – the first day of the Hindu festival of Navaratri, brings in 9 days of revelry and rituals in most of India. To me, it has always signified the ‘sthapana’ or installation of values, that provide ‘shakti’ or energy to achieve one’s goals. Two of the values that have always stayed with me, while observing the journeys of people who achieved their goals – are the values of fearlessness and balance. These stand out even more, for women achievers.
Since the last few months of 2017 till date, the ‘Me Too Movement’ has spread virally across the globe, encouraging people irrespective of the gender to speak up about harassment issues and more importantly shedding light on the magnitude of the issue. This has been the first step towards breaking out of the fear, but more importantly, it has paved the way for gender balance at the workplace. While both aspects in their core require multiple layers to be uncovered and societal influence & attitudes to be changed, the goal is to create a playing ground that is balanced, so that no fears exist, and employees can contribute towards problem solving, process improvement and innovation. So, while fearlessness has been demonstrated in speaking up about the issue, the principle of balance needs to be applied to take up corrective and preventive actions.
According to The World Economic Forum, “Despite making up half of the population and 47% of the labour force, women remain highly underrepresented in the top echelons of business. 5% of the richest billionaires are women 6% of S&P 500 companies have women CEOs 20% of Fortune 500 board. This may be, because, despite the capabilities they hold, women professionals often tend to succumb to the fear of managing multiple duties and are reluctant to take up roles that involve greater responsibilities and commitments at work. The root cause could be the lack of support for important responsibilities at home, or the perception that no one else can take on those responsibilities, in essence the fear or guilt that if they are not available for their duties, something might fail. If conversations could be had, about balance, there could surely be ways of looking at shared responsibility in the family.
A famous quote by Dr. Kiran Bedi says “If you don’t take charge of your life, you will be lathi-charged by time” . Female leaders, especially in India have clearly mentioned, the first step towards change is identifying and overcoming this fear/guilt and taking charge at work and home. While its often recommended that the first step is to draw a clear line between the two, what has been observed is that real successes are seen when one is able to strike a balance, at a tactical level. The ‘clear line’ may in-fact keep one away from deploying resources smartly. What could be looked at is – a balance in time spent, a balance in resources used, a balance in energy – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and where one deploys which one. In our Indian culture, balance is the starting point, whether in Yoga or food. The balance of emotion and intellect, the balance of Yin and Yang, and the concept of Ardhanarishwara which brings out creativity and innovation, is not new to us. Why not consider these principles, that accept the existence of dual realities, and recommend the process of balance?
If we apply the principle of fearlessness right when we choose our goals, we would be able to choose a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)” as recommended in the book “Built to last”. At the same time, it is important to be aware of the fact, that while one chooses the new goal, what is the plan to strike a balance in other areas of life? What is one willing to compromise on, or spread out to another quarter/ month? Which relationships need to be invested on really, in order to support the BHAG? Are we fearless enough, to begin work on those relationships? The lens of ‘balance’ helps one to spread out one’s priorities and energies. It gives one the fearlessness and humility to ask for support. It allows us the liberty to NOT be a ‘supermom’ or ‘superdad’ once in a while.
For women professionals, stepping up may be an arduous task but overcoming the fear of failure at work or at home, is often half the battle won. This said, the importance of sharing experiences and developing others, cannot be undermined. Lauren Ready, points out in her report titled ‘Taking Charge’, “that all women who have achieved leadership positions were actively involved in developing others, thus repaying their supporters or their organizations.” It is a proven fact, that individuals who find their powers in keeping information or knowledge to themselves, are not successful in the long term. However, the way to grow, is to empower. The definition of women empowerment, can hence be seen as not something done for women, but the act of women ‘taking charge’ by empowering others – applying the principles of fearlessness and balance.
Element78’s ‘DOR’ for women professionals is an initiative to drive transformation by taking charge of work and life. The discover, own and reach-out (DOR) framework’s real success factor is the small but strong alumnus group whose members, though diverse in terms of skills and life-stage, support each other, and see each other through various professional and personal dilemmas.
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