Feet on the Ground

If you happen to check the net right now, you may find several interpretations of this beautiful quote. You may have probably formed one of your own in this moment!   Without asking you to change that, let me bring your attention to mine for a while. This quote always is a reminder to me to be humble as a Professional.

Who is a Professional? What is Professionalism? Is it just a term, or is it a role?  Is it taught in college or do we learn it on the job? What would you say is professional behaviour? Have you ever experienced unprofessionalism?  How did that make you feel? Why is it important to be professional? – What do you think?

I distantly recall my first understanding of professionalism and that was when I encountered unprofessional behaviour. In my career, I got some wise advice about professionalism from a few seniors and then chanced to read a few articles on it.  Along with skills and knowledge, we speak of professionalism as behaviours such as smiling, greeting people, coming on time, dressing well, sending that email as promised, not participating in gossip conversations, speaking in an audible and respectful tone, giving attention and eye contact to the other in a conversation, apologising where necessary, not wasting time on personal calls during working hours and much more.  Is this important?  It certainly is, but are these just behaviours that we have to do or could there be something more to it? Let me share my thoughts.

I happened to travel last month for work. Breakfast was a buffet spread at the hotel and while we served ourselves the staff made sure we were comfortable. On the second day at the breakfast table while I turned in my seat to stand up and get a refill of my juice I saw the same waiter who had attended me the previous day pour out a glass while nodding at me. Then with a joyful smile, he placed the glass on the table with a quick question if I needed anything more.  He was extremely polite and I felt served. It was almost like he was going beyond the checklist. Interestingly, his colleague at the front reception spoke very politely and answered all my queries well which was great, but almost transactional. So were they both professional?  I would say yes. But the gentleman at the reception was “Doing professionalism” while the banquet person was “Being Professional”. The difference in my experience was that one of them was being effortless and hence felt more genuine while the other seemed to operate on the surface. The difference was in their meaning of professionalism, one of them referred to it as a rule book or as an expected behaviour while the other went one level deeper.

This difference in our way of being at work comes from our intention or our meaning of professionalism. The intent to make a good impression and do my job well is different from the intent to serve clients well and make a difference. Both are different meanings of professionalism for two people. What matters is what you choose. Choose an intention that feels true to you, empowers you.

Be valued as a Professional

We all have encountered that professional who says the right words yet we don’t experience those words.  At the same time, we have also met those professionals who magically connect with the same words and the experience is beyond those words. That distinctive feel between the two is the professional edge you could have when you begin to stop just doing professional behaviour and build your personal effectiveness at work based on your meaning of professionalism.  Moreover, that will lead you to gain more opportunities to be successful, build credibility and sustain good relationships.

The First Step

So how do we become aware of our intention and think through our meaning of professionalism? Just begin by asking a few questions;

What is important for me at work?

What does success mean to me?

How do I want to be perceived?

How do I want people to experience my presence?

Who is the real me that I wish to express?

How do I want my work to stand out?

How do I want people to go back feeling after interacting with me?

As you get clearer, you will begin to feel firmly rooted and being a professional will become effortless. Your journey to optimising personal effectiveness at work begins with this. As you reach the stars, feel the ground below your feet!

“You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.” – A New Earth

Think deep, live in the moment!




Let us Re-Invent!

As we move ahead in life, based on the natural laws that govern human growth and progress, enriched with experiences, and changing circumstances, our roles and goals keep on changing and to keep up with the momentum we need to keep on reinventing ourselves. Of course, we need to always be who we are but there can always be a better you

These are a few lines that I had penned down five years back when I became a Consultant.  I had to decide a name for my company and the word “Reinvent” kept coming back, but I thought it sounded like a formula and decided to reinvent it further and called my company “Reivent”.  I realise now, that the fascination with this term was coming more out of my experience, as with the new venture of mine I was reinventing myself. Little did I know that this small piece would capture the essence of my work with people!

A few days back one of my clients read this out (it is printed on the book that I give them) loud and mentioned how it had set him thinking deeply. Now as I read it I feel it could have been worded better, but yet it captures the meaning of reinventing as I saw it then. Admittedly at the same time, today the meaning of the term has expanded.

My Understanding of Reinventing self… Today:

I am a big fan of animation movies and one of my favourites is the Kung Fu panda series. While I love all the sequels, there are a few scenes which I simply adore. Do you remember the first of the series, where Shifu, the master is trying to teach Kung Fu to Po the student panda and is being unsuccessful?  Then one day he comes across Po in the kitchen doing a split midair, enjoying cookies. Thus now the master found a way of training his disciple the way that fits him, works for him. In that moment, I feel Master Shifu reinvented himself.

Being an ardent fan of Mr Bachchan and having seen his movies right from the 70s, I always feel inspired when I see how he has reinvented himself in the 2000’s.

My grandmother-in-law gave up wearing her nine-yard sari and got into a five-yard sari as she wanted to move ahead with times and called it a refreshing change. That also is a way of reinventing self.

In my previous days of working in our family business, as I had mentioned, I used to avoid conflict situations and felt it was a noble thing to do.  It was protecting me for sure, but also pushing me into a bubble where I pretended that all is well.

As my world expanded and I got into the role of a coach, this behaviour was almost like pulling wool over my eyes and I felt that I was not serving my clients well because of this inhibition. As a coach worked with me I realised I wanted to stop pretending and told myself that whether I am training or sitting with a client and feel that something else is on their mind, I will bring it out in the open and discuss it. Just being vulnerable set me free because I allowed myself to be uncomfortable and have an honest dialogue with the client. I suddenly found myself feeling stronger as I had adapted myself to the new role I had stepped into and this change in attitude has helped create a new perspective in almost all situations in life. This for me is evolution, growth, personal development, re-invention.

Why am I writing this, what is it that I want to share?

As a coach what I see happening is while most people are open to coaching, there is also an apprehension. I feel this hesitation comes mostly from the comfort of living life with our well-anchored beliefs and values.  Coaching is also a tool for personal development and enables people to take responsibility for their life and consciously work on reinventing themselves. But most people would rather continue to do what they have been habituated to do and wait for miraculous results.

As I meet people for business, I hear a common thread of discomfort about handling perplexing relations in office, career not shaping well or ways of the management. Now while I completely agree it is not possible to control the fast-moving external world or not feel a tad bit of pity for self, I also sense we have discovered a comfortable way of doing things or approaching problems and then keep telling ourselves this is who I am.  Imagine in the movie Kung panda, if Master Shifu had not chosen to reinvent himself, how would have the universe responded?

I see a few friends who keep changing jobs as they are unhappy with their teams and management, and as they share their problems the core thinking is that they want everything and everyone to change, except them. I admit I too have been there and sometimes tend to slip in that place.  But sometimes this resistance to look inward and grow can be the point where we miss our bus towards living life fully and completely. We want our lives to get better, have amazing relations and work promotions but then also want to be who were being since medieval times.

Rather than that how about taking a good look at ourselves, sensing, reflecting and shifting? It is about change, yes! But change does not mean losing self. What if we looked at change as a part of growth? Or maybe a way of adding one more dimension to our personality?

I believe change is inevitable. It is the law of nature. While we refuse to evolve consciously we forget that other people, circumstances, our goals, and unconsciously we too are changing and it’s our choice whether to be that child who wants things his way or discover ways to reinvent.

Where to begin?

You may begin in small ways like being aware of self, looking at situations and yourself from different perspectives, associating with people who help you grow. Then slowly move towards breaking the not so useful patterns and develop powerful routines. I will be sharing more about this in the weeks to come.

As we choose new goals and new horizons to walk towards, let us choose to develop and grow into that person who needs to evolve to get there.  Also as the external environment is being true to the inevitable nature of change, can we shape ourselves to meet that change in a way where we do not lose our true spirit but just add more colours to it?


“If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be better than what you are” – Master Shifu


The Inside-Out-Inside Talk

At Work…

  • Have you ever sat in a meeting room, full of people, and felt almost invisible?
  • Have you ever walked confidently to a person and suddenly felt yourself shrink?
  • Do you ever feel the need to say what is on your mind and sense more words being gulped down rather than spoken?
  • Have you heard your own voice say to you,” He is so much better”!

Well, almost all of the above instances are coming straight out of my personal book and how and when I became aware of them is very interesting.

This was while I was working in our family business many years back. As I learnt the brass tacks of business there were several instances when I felt uneasy and unsure. This was mostly while conversing with clients and vendors. Whenever I felt they were being firm or smarter I used to feel insignificant, and with people who were clearly rude or bullies (oh yes, they do exist), I used to either shut down or blow my top off.

Very soon, I began shielding my ego by not being around those people or in situations where I felt shaky and conveniently convinced myself that I was a better soul and that the world was cruel. Moreover, I thought managing business relations is not one of my talents and let my husband handle that as I hid behind the accounting files. I found my safe spot in Accounts and Finance which were my favourite subjects in college. However, at the same time, I was comfortable managing the people who worked for us.

When I stepped out of my cocoon into the world of training and consulting, I soon realised that this fear of meeting unknown people and discussing business was limiting my potential.

As a trained image consultant I was taught to dress and present myself well, and with the business suits, heels and knowledge of my subject in tow, I felt I was ready to impress. I felt incredible mostly only till the other person came into the picture to discuss business, and the reason I say mostly is because I was able to handle some conversations although a silent voice saying “not good enough” racked my nerves.  Otherwise, my awkwardness was clearly visible, especially while meeting CEOs. But surprisingly in my consulting and training sessions, I felt extremely secure, confident and spirited.

Almost always it is not them, but it is your inner doing:

And then, when I decided to work on my fear, one question by my mentor changed my perspective, and that was: “If he is the CEO, who are you”? Instantly, I became aware of my thinking and realised that I was looking at myself in that situation as a Nobody! This Aha moment did not dissolve my fears entirely but suddenly I found ground to stand on and standing there felt like now I could create what I want. I realised our mind can be very tricky and how we feel in a situation is mostly defined by our perception. How we perceive others, see ourselves, and the situation, will lead our communication and all of this happens unconsciously.

What I realised was that though it is important to know how to present ourselves and have good language skills to connect with people, if the inside is not sorted out then the external is just an eyewash.  But then also, when we carry ourselves gracefully, dress as per our values and know the right business etiquette, it makes us feel secure and dignified on the inside.

So how does it work? Well, I believe it’s not” either “, “or” as it works both ways, Inside out and Outside in.

Have you noticed, in office you feel apprehensive with a particular person and in those moments you either feel that you are not good enough or discreetly blame him for your discomfort. But then you notice other members of your team standing next to you, completely at ease and wonder how that happens! Also in the same place with other people, you feel free and totally in control.

So the question is, are they the problem? I don’t think so. “They” are not difficult or easy, it is our ability and perception window which is fogged, and that needs to be cleared!  Which coincidently again is on the inside 🙂

So for those of you who are experiencing something similar at work, while you may need to look into your external observable behaviours, also take a moment to go inward and reflect! Start becoming aware of what exactly is happening when you say you feel low on confidence. Discover what you feel at that moment on the inside. Listen to what you are saying to yourself. Ask, how is it that you see yourself in that situation? How do you view the other person? And notice if you would like to change any of it so that you can find your ground to begin with!

 “This Universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already are” – Rumi





First Impression ….Lasting Impression

This is the story of a ten-year girl on a lazy summer afternoon. Since her mother had refused to give in to her demand she was sulking, looking out of the window, hoping someone came along and cajoled her.  The doorbell rang and she heard voices in the drawing room. “Hmm, guests”, she thought.

Very soon the mother called out and asked her to join them. She plopped on the sofa opposite to where the guests sat, with her head down, answering them in monosyllables and occasionally glaring at her mother. After they left, the mum her a reason for the behaviour, and the girl said: “What did I do?” Her mother replied, “People come to meet and spend some time with us, do you think your behaviour was right?” The girl whined,   ” I did not say anything, and replied to their questions also, I am upset and I don’t care “. Her mother said, “No one has the time to think as to why you are upset or understand that maybe you are not having a good day. What they take back with them is what they see. Can you imagine what they must be thinking about you? And our family?”

The young girl was me, and this was my primary understanding of the first impression as far as I remember.  I am sure each one of you has heard this in some context or the other while growing up – Create a good impression! No one explained the real why to me, and it was always taught as a part of being a good girl and I am grateful for that.

When I got into consulting and training, as a feature of my study, I read about the research done on the occurrence of the first impression. At that point, I understood that people do make snap judgments based on the first look within 3-5 seconds and a few minutes of interaction.  Now based on that perception, we either get liked or a distant treatment. In fact, our first email or a telephone conversation too works in a similar way. I believe it’s a survival instinct in us and we do it unconsciously.

So being mindful of it and being considerate, and mannerly, seems to make a lot of sense. Also being kind and considerate from a human point of view equally makes good sense to me.In fact, rather than speaking generally, let me narrow it down to work.

 Managing Impression at Work:

We all know in business making the right impression has its advantages, and a good first impression helps us create opportunities to take the relationship further as we have stepped into the “yes room” of the other persons’ mind. Great! Now, what happens after the first impressionable interaction is over?  Most times it will lead to a series of engagements.

How do we manage our demeanour then? How do we live up to those expectations? Because now there are discussions, requests, negotiations, maybe a difference of opinion or distinctive outcomes that two people want from that interaction and operating from a principle of making a good impression may become a quest!

Also, is first impression only an external doing? I don’t think so. We may disguise our real emotions with perfect clothes and the best greetings, but what about the silent language of the physiology? I have had introductions to people where their impeccable dressing and the right choice of words have not matched the quiver in the voice, distant look in their eyes or the aloof smile. And I must acknowledge, I have been there quite a few times myself.

It is only human to want to be liked by people, but it is hardly in our control.

So instead of looking at first impressions as a curtain raiser, how about creating instants that last even after you have left the room? What if we can shift our focus to a place which is more inspiring rather than attempting to be liked?  Just like a sea anchor helps the ship from drifting away, what if you allowed your true self to ground you and choose the behaviour that seems to fit you? Because, when the internal blends with the external, is when you create a memorable impact.

And how do we do that? We do that each day! building and strengthening the power within us that keeps us grounded while we show up in different situations.

The best way to make a good first impression last is to be the person you wish to be!

See you next week!



Hello World!

Hi, I am Manjiri from Bengaluru, and am delighted to connect with all of you through this platform. Looking forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences here!

I am an MBA graduate and began working in 1999 to help my husband re –establish our business which was in ICU then. My thinking was “Hey, I am a management graduate and this is going to be as super easy as giving exams”.  Being a good student in college (my perception of course), I believed,” When you work hard, you get success”.   But my experience was hardly that, and all the romantic notion of work hard and success will be at your feet was shattered on the first day at work when I received an earful from a vendor and then a customer.   I was tongue tied not knowing how to deal with the situation, and left with a bruised ego.

Though doing business, and managing people was not as simple as I thought it would be, I learnt a lot as I worked in every department.  And together we created our dream business model based on our core working values.  While working with different professionals over a span of twelve years, I noticed, just like me many skilled and qualified professionals were struggling to find their ground as they were unsure of how to handle relationships and communication at work.  And essentially themselves, more than anything else.

By 2010, I was ready to look at something new and my search ended at a programme in Image Consulting.  Throughout the program, I felt something was missing as working on the image of a person felt incomplete. In this new career, I went through a self-doubting journey that had several moments where I felt  I was not good enough.

That’s when NLP happened, and my search for working with people at a deeper level got answered.  Here I wish to mention a special Thank You, to Mr Ashlesh Rao of Neoway Academy because my life transformed by attending his programmes. The inner strength that I experience today is a gift that I have received through his mentorship.

My Aha moment was when I understood that though managing our behaviour in a useful way is something we have learnt since childhood, continuously operating from the idea of impressing someone can be dis-empowering.  I realised that wanting to be liked by all is an elusive illusion, and one of the best ways to be stressed.  Why not be the person who feels congruent on the inside and align it with the environment?

So began my best shot in creating training programmes and coaching professionals on enhancing their personal effectiveness at work with the Power of Presence. You may read more about my work on www.reivent.com and on www.manjiricoach.com

Why Blogging?

As a Trainer, I happen to meet several people, and after the training is over some of them come up to me and speak about their fears and dreams.  What they share is pretty close to what I have gone through or have worked with people in my coaching sessions, but since the opportunity is not available I cannot work any further with them. This used to leave me with a feeling of incompleteness.

So I began to think. What if I could reach out to the participants and share my perspectives, understandings?  That would give me a sense of completion and a satisfaction of having served them well.  Also, what if my sharing could reach out to some professionals who may be wanting to excel in certain areas at work and home? It might make a difference! So I said to myself ….let’s write a BLOG!

As I begin to share my blog from today, I understand it may not appeal to everyone, but if this collection of learning can give value to a few of those who visit the site it would be worth contributing.

Happy to be here!