Stepping-out-of-comfort-zone-soaring-eagles

Why Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone is Important

Many years ago, when I was attending one of my favourite counselling classes, my mentor said, “In life, you can have comfort or growth, you can’t have both.” It is these words that have motivated me to keep moving ahead in life and to inspire others to do the same.

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone requires considerable effort. After all, venturing from a familiar territory to an unknown can appear to be a daunting task, at first. However, once you learn to look at anything new as a challenge, an opportunity to innovate or maximize your potential, you will also learn to embrace the new phases of your life with ease.

Learning to be more open-minded is the key to evolving continuously. Being open-minded means having optimism towards new ideas while viewing life as a journey and a learning experience. Being open to new ideas also means, learning to be accepting of others’ point of view, even if they are different from your own.

There are several ways to step out of your comfort zone, if you haven’t done it already. You could either choose to begin the new year by enrolling in something that’s new to you; be it a new sport, a cooking class, an adventurous trip or learning to play a musical instrument. These are just a few examples that have been listed. The point is, if you truly want to move ahead in life, you have to keep trying something new.

On the professional front, stepping out of your comfort zone could mean exploring opportunities in different places or learning to operate in known places, including your city and country of origin, from a fresh perspective.

Growing up is never easy. But every time, being flexible seems difficult, I’m reminded of what my good old friend from New York once told me before I moved back to India after completing my higher education and acquiring some work experience, “We cannot and should not live in the same chapter of our lives forever. Because the farther we go, the richer we get.”

Process-for-giving-feedback-soaring-eagles

The 5 Step Process for Giving Constructive Feedback

The process of communication comes full circle only when the sender’s intended message is completely understood by the receiver of the message and feedback about that understanding is communicated to the sender by the receiver. However, it is not always as simple as sending and receiving messages. At times we need to communicate feedback as well and depending upon the situation, the feedback may be positive or critical.

Minal shares her experience and says, “The schedules had been sent out two weeks in advance and the dates had been blocked for the monthly review meeting. This was one monthly catch up session we did as a team wherein we went over all our business plans and reviewed our numbers. This was my fourth review meet with this new team I had been asked to lead and as I sat in the conference room waiting for the team members, I still worried about Rahul who had consistently walked in, unprepared, for each of the review meetings. What was I to do if he did that again?”

We are all faced with similar apprehensions when we need to give feedback. At such times, we may choose to ignore the problem, we may choose to get upset about the whole thing or we could consciously choose to share feedback with the person concerned.

This five step process is quite helpful when it comes to sharing constructive feedback:

1. Point out the Problem in Behaviour: It is essential to understand the difference between the person and the problem. We need to point out that we have a problem with the person’s behaviour and not with the person.

Minal: “Rahul, I need to speak to you. Could you please come with me to my office? I have noticed that you have been walking in unprepared for our review meetings. It is essential that you come armed with your data when we do the review meeting so that we are all on the same page.”

2. Point out exactly what is wrong: Vague feedback seldom helps. It is therefore essential to specifically state what the issue is quite clearly and why that issue is a problem. Not painting a clear picture will only lead to ineffective communication and a lot of misunderstandings.

Minal: “The business plans we create are all dependent on the numbers. When you don’t bring in the data, coming to a conclusion regarding what plans are feasible and what plans are not becomes difficult.”

3. Help them recognize the Issue: It is not enough just to give feedback. Once feedback has been given, it is also important to seek acknowledgment as to whether the issue has been understood or not and whether the person receiving the feedback plans to do something about it.

Minal: “It is a problem area and you do see that it needs to be corrected, right?”

4. Establish Goals: Goal setting essentially entails creating an action plan which will help in attaining the desired end result. Feedback does not stop just with pointing out what is ineffective. Effective feedback comprises solutions to problems, not just identifying and acknowledging problems. In the case of Minal and Sarika, the end result is a change in behaviour and approach to work.

Minal: “Help me understand the reason for being unprepared so that we can both work out solutions to this problem together. Let us figure out how we can solve this problem. Also, let me know how I can help you.”

5. Evaluate Performances: A follow- through is essential, especially after feedback has been given and goals have been set. A performance evaluation post constructive feedback helps deliver two pertinent messages: i) It helps to understand whether the feedback has percolated down to the receiver of the feedback. ii) It helps in establishing the message that the person providing objective feedback is concerned about the issue.

Minal: “I would like to do a small review with you every Friday at 4.00 PM so that we can resolve all the issues you are facing and get you all the requisite training before our next review meet.”

A bonus tip: Focus only on developing future plans through your feedback. And remember, especially while giving constructive feedback; make sure you give it in a private setting.

Successful-entrepreneur-soaring-eagles

The Formula for Success in Entrepreneurship

The e-commerce industry has changed the landscape of the start-up ecosystem of India, for the better. Every time, while reading about the success stories of organizations like ‘Flipkart’ and how the Bansal duo officially entered the Forbes billionaire club, there are many aspiring entrepreneurs, hoping to make it big, eventually.

So, what does it really take to be a successful entrepreneur? While there is no specific recipe for success, there is no substitute for hard work and dedication either. Establishing a venture entails taking risks, having the ability to anticipate consequences, demonstrating a thorough understanding of the environment in which one plans to operate in and the ability to handle setbacks.

The future belongs to those who can innovate as well as address India’s systemic issues in the process. While doing so, it is important to ensure that the initiative that you plan on taking is aligned with your passion, abilities and core values. The fruits of success are more likely to come to entrepreneurs who can stay focused on their strengths, while striving for excellence.

The entrepreneurial journey is all about executing a new idea and continuously evolving in order to stay relevant. It is through humility and positivity, that facilitating the process of learning and growth becomes possible.

So, while the Bansals’ ‘Flipkart’ continues to raise the bar for start-ups in the e-commerce industry; they have proved that through visioncommitment and determination, your dreams can be transformed into successful realities.