Monday, May 21, 2012

The Invisible CEOs

Behind every successful man, there is a woman.
Was quite a popular quote in yester years.
Till women themselves refuted it, saying why should women be "behind"?

History regales us with stories of empires being won and lost on the whims and advice of queens, empresses and beloved.

We have seen our partners, fathers and friends discuss work , the problems, the conflicts at home.
And the pearls of wisdom and advice from the other halves, over the kitchen fires , dining table .
Pillow talk is not always always about love and gossip.

It is about the day at work as well.
If a partner is truly the one to be trusted , it is only natural that one reaches out at times for advice.
Even if it is just  as a sounding board.

Wonder how many partners have been invisible CEOs.
Peppered in friendly words of advice.
Nudged their loved ones into taking that risk.
That step.

Or just given that extra hug to say- I believe in you .

Enough to make one confident.
Truly, we owe a lot to the Invisible CEOs.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Transfer of Emotions

Woke up  at day break to add final touches to a presentation - a session I am taking for the younger team members today.
I feel passionate, alive,  full of energy.
There is something about sharing.
Whether it is learning.
Or skills.
Or just an experience.

And when it comes with passion, we go that extra mile to make the session come alive.
Stories take shape.
Slides have a life of their own.
Fonts spread their message in their own soft subtle way.
While visuals make their impactful entry.

Making a presentation  sounds small.
We are doing more than that.
We are communicating.
And communication is nothing but a transfer of emotions.

About something we feel strongly about.
Something we justify, support with evidence.
Convince the other person to believe.
And leave them feeling better, even if just slightly... but better, than what they were.

It is the power of finding our own voice.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Dance

The rehearsals , "practice" as Ma would sternly say, would begin more than a month before.
No nap after school. No running out to play before "practice".
Masterji would wheel his bicycle up the hillock where our house stood, sip the hot cup of tea and Britannia Marie Ma served him, and then sit down on the floor with the "khol" ( dholak).

I would be ready with my anklets. One two three and start... he would beat the rhythm on his palms first as his melodious voice rang out, seamlessly transitioning to the Khol, as I swayed and twirled and bent and tapped and finally came to a panting halt.
"Hold your smile"
"Look at the middle finger of your left hand, that way you are not staring at the audience"
"Graceful, graceful... softness of steps"

He would go on and on, till the curtains were drawn and the lights warmed the room with their golden hue.

The last week would be with full costume on.
The last two days with full make up and costume on.
The last day on the final stage.
The dry run.

On the day of the performance, Ma would make sure we had light food.
Arrived at the venue well in time.
Last minute instructions.
Daddy's calm " You always dance well, don't worry".
Ma's " Don't forget your smile".

Wait in the Green Room.
The final rush to the wash room.
Walk to the wings.
Hear the anchor describe my act and announce my name.
Take a deep breath. One last prayer.

And then, step out into the spotlight.
Before the expectant eyes of an audience who I couldn't let down.

And I would start my dance.
Forgetting everything and everyone else.

Years later, the only dance I manage now is a quick move at a party before I pant and slump into the nearest sofa. Have forgotten the acts, the moves, the steps.

But I use my learnings every day.
At work, when I speak.
At a presentation.
In meetings.

Everything, at the end of the day, is a performance.