Leadership is an act and not a position - event with Nick Williams

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Leadership is an act and not a position

This is written with personal insights on leadership as well as from the Shishukunj Bethak with Nick Williams on 26th September 2019 where six core ideas were shared on Be Inspired. Be Inspiring. Be Yourself. Includes recording of the event and slides..

During the December of 2000 I was in leadership role as President of the Young Jains charity organisation and had travelled to India on holiday. I remember distinctly seeing a poster in a shop that resonated with me and had a lasting impact. The poster had a quote which read:

Leadership is an act not a position.

This message really hit home and stuck with me.

The first habit in one of my favourite books, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr Stephen Covey is the habit “Be Proactive”, this is about leadership and being responsible.

The book also explains the difference between management and leadership using a ladder metaphor.

Management is about making progress up the ladder whether that ladder is career, relationships, business, learning, purpose or personal growth. Leadership is about making sure the ladder is leaning against the right wall - your mission, values, purpose, goals.

Leadership is about doing the right things and management about doing things right.

Other books that I have read on leadership are Covey’s “Principle Centred Leadership”, Robin Sharma’s “The Leader With No Title” and “Dare - Accepting the Challenge of Trusting Leadership” by Scott Weiss. All great reads.

The focus of the Shishukunj event was on Spiritual Leadership. After greeting with Namaste, we reminded everyone that the greeting means we are bowing to the higher self, reminding us we are a Soul.

Most Shishukunj events start with the prayer “ Aasatyo Mahati….”, my interpretation and translation (which is not fully correct I am sure but works for me) of this is :

Dear Lord, lead me from what is not true to the truth,

Dear Lord, lead me from darkness to the light,

Lead me from death to peace,

Lead me to Divinity

Nick Williams an author, coach, thought leader, past director of Alternative and has spirituality at the heart of everything he does as he shares about inspiration, creativity, leadership and challenges such as resistance to these. September 2019 is the celebration of 20 years of his first of many books, the classic book “The Work We We Born To Do”. He is a humble, creative, discipline, devoted , grateful and inspiring individual. The event related to his latest book “Be Inspired. Be Inspiring, Be Yourself”. Some of the ideas that were shared were:

  • Offering Leadership Vs Leadership as a position where offering leadership is steeped in love and leadership as a position is often driven from fear.

  • It takes courage to show up

  • Best leaders have been on a journey of self leadership and lead with empathy and compassion. Self leadership is authentic, powerful and professional

  • Leadership is about drawing the best out in yourself and help others to do the same

  • “We are the ones we have been waiting for”

  • Primary purpose of leadership is to inspire

  • Inspiration has a different quality to motivation

Six core ideas:

  1. Assume your best qualities, gifts and abilities are already within you. Some are already manifest, many remain dormant are are waiting to be drawn forth. They do pre-exist so it less about self improvement and more about self cultivation. Always an invitation to blossom.

  2. Seek to be inspired and inspiring, come from a place of personal inspiration at least some of the time. Stoke the fires of inspiration, source of inspiration never goes away. What will inspire you next? The most power relationship: Being a willing collaborator. Whatis your next chapter? How will you inspire yourself next?

  3. Understand that inspiration has an “evil twin” that is called resistance. Resistance - all our ego’s petty responses to the amazing power, ideas and creative impulse of your Soul.

  4. Make friends with your vulnerability. Become comfortable with your discomfort. As we step outside the comfort zone we grow.

  5. Show Up! Even in small but bold and brave ways. The world is poorer when our resistance wins. It is about sharing the light with others and not taking the spotlight.

  6. Commission yourself. Initiate. Take responsibility.

What are your next steps of being an inspired leader? We are all leaders whether we have a leadership position or not as we may have roles of parent, family head, team lead, teacher, community leader and world citizen.

If you would like signed copies of Nick’s books get in touch.


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The next one will be about my recent crisis of being a victim of identity theft fraud, losing more than 7 figures, how I resolved and steps to protect yourself.


Added Value Resources

The recording of the event.

The slides used at event.

Here is a TED talk I love about every day leadership

We have all changed someone's life -- usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other's lives.

About the Author

Shaileen Shah is a Happiness Coach, Speaker and Trainer. Previously having been in finance technology for the investment banking arm of RBS during the RBS takeover of Natwest, the RBS takeover of ABN Ambro and the financial crisis he has experienced the challenges brought by uncertainty, change and stress. He is certified in The Science of Happiness and shares through Happy Life Habits. Happy Life Habits Positively Impacts Happiness & Well Being Levels by creatively and uniquely combining Personal Development + The Science of Happiness + Spirituality. A business for Good; supporting the UNs Sustainable Development Goals. For more information see HappyLifeHabits.co.uk.


WHAT’S MY PURPOSE? WHY AM I HERE?

(This article was commissioned for the Young Jains Magazine on the theme of Purpose Summer 2019)

These questions and other related ones are what many of us ponder and ask ourselves at various points in our life. Some find answers and begin living their purpose, others keep searching and some stop asking or never asked. 

There are many books, articles and workshops that are available to help answer “How do I find my purpose in life?”. Something can only be found if it is lost. I do not believe we find our purpose; I believe we uncover our purpose, our life's calling. It has always been there, just need to be uncovered. This is likened to the Michael Angelo quotes:

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free”

“Every block of stone has a statue inside and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”

Our purpose is within us and our journey is to uncover it and live it.

When I was a teenager doing the examinations in GCSEs (O levels) and A levels I did not know what I wanted to do as I grew up. My older brother Raju was studying Computer Science/IT and suggested I do that as a degree. 4 years later with a degree, masters and having met my life partner Harshna, I was looking for a job in a recession hit economy. After months for applying for various jobs and not having any luck; Raju showed me an article in a computing magazine about a US consultancy firm that was setting up offices in Europe. I tracked down the phone number for the company (pre- Google); made contact and sent my C.V. I got a job as a trainee consultant and was one of the first 10 UK employees. I was sent to the US on an assignment for a few weeks (become a few months). During this time; the early 90s; I was introduced to the now classic book Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. During the same time I attended my first of many personal development seminars. I flew back from the US for 4 nights to attend Tony Robbins (No1 Success Coach) Unleash The Power Weekend (UPW) which involved walking on hot coals on the first night of the seminar! Also around the same time I was attending YJ events and becoming more active. These experiences and learnings from them were conducive  to uncovering my purpose. I was keen to put into practice and share what I had learnt. This led to me joining the YJ committee and being on convention committees. 

The 7 Habits book has had a phenomenal impact, in particular habit 2 “Begin with the End in Mind”. This has an exercise to write a personal mission statement. This I did and has been guiding most of the decisions and activities I have been involved with since the mid 90s. 

I have not often publicly shared my personal mission statement; however here it is to help inspire others to think about theirs:

“I continuously contribute, learn, grow and make a positive difference to all in my environment adding tremendous value.

I am a caring, loving, supportive family member and friend.

I act with integrity, truthfulness and do the right thing.

I use my time effectively, am a creator of wealth, value and abundance. I achieve balance”

This has been my North Star, my compass and resulted in my active involvement in Young Jains, Shree Chandana Vidhya Peeth (SCVP), Museum of Happiness, Service Space, Oshwal and Shishukunj.

This mission and my values have been challenged even sometimes compromised. I worked in Finance Technology in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS the bank) during the RBS takeover of NatWest, the RBS takeover of ABN Ambro and the financial crisis during which RBS had to be bailed out. Upon leaving RBS through redundancy in 2016 I took time out to consider the next chapter in my life. During this time through various experiences, conversations, reading and pondering that added to existing ones; pondering on what is important to me; reflecting on my mission statement;  has led to an uncovering of my current purpose in life: Being a Happiness Coach and through my business Happy Life Habits : Positively Impacting Happiness and Well Being Levels.

A concept that has become popular is Ichigai a Japense term.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.” The word “ikigai” is usually used to indicate the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile. The word translated to English roughly means “thing that you live for” or “the reason for which you wake up in the morning.” Wikipedia
Japanese concept of Ikigai

Japanese concept of Ikigai

Purpose and Meaning are components of The Science of Happiness for a happy life. 

I share the definition of happiness from researcher and author of “The How of Happiness”, Sonja Lyubomirsky:


“The experience of joy, contentment, or positive wellbeing, combined with a sense of one’s life is good, meaningful and worthwhile”

In a succinct way I guess my purpose and perhaps the purpose for everyone is :

“To be happy and help others be happy”

That’s why I am here. How about you?


About the Author

Shaileen Shah is a Happiness Coach, Speaker and Trainer. Previously having been in finance technology for the investment banking arm of RBS during the RBS takeover of Natwest, the RBS takeover of ABN Ambro and the financial crisis he has experienced the challenges brought by uncertainty, change and stress. He is certified in The Science of Happiness and shares through Happy Life Habits. Happy Life Habits Positively Impacts Happiness & Well Being Levels by creatively and uniquely combining Personal Development + The Science of Happiness + Spirituality. A business for Good; supporting the UNs Sustainable Development Goals. For more information see HappyLifeHabits.co.uk.


Why be Happy, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise?

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This article was written for the Oshwal Health and Care Fair Brochure as part of the Oshwal Health and Care Fair in June 2019 where Happy Life Habits had a talk on Stress and Resilience.

Why be Happy, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise?

Recently I read 

“You only live once. That is incorrect! You die once but you get to live every day.” 

Developing habits to be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise you can live a very happy, fulfilling, meaningful and harmonious life each and every day with great energy, focus and resilience, as well as problem solving capabilities.  I am excited to share scientific insights and practical tips on how you can do this.

What is Happiness? What is The Science of Happiness

Happiness is more than a fleeting emotion. It is an innate part of who we truly are. From my field, The Science of Happiness, I share the definition researcher and author of “The How of Happiness”, Sonja Lyubomirsky:

“The experience of joy, contentment, or positive wellbeing, combined with a sense of one’s life is good, meaningful and worthwhile”

Take a moment to reflect and absorb that definition.

The Science of Happiness does research and experiments to find out the things that make us happy, as defined above. It covers all of these areas in the diagram titled “Your Brain on Greater Good”.

What we in the field are finding is that many of the factors leading to following can be managed, so that we can lessen or prevent: 

Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, overwhelm, loss of direction and low productivity.  We know how this all impacts our relationships, sense of loneliness and life balance.

The science show us that there are regular practices and habit which help rewire the brain and increase the happy chemicals - Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins - and all without the use of medicine or drugs.

What is Health? 

The World Health Organisation, WHO, defines health as: 

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”

Health is a dynamic condition resulting from adapting and adjusting to changes and stresses in our environment. 

For me it has 4 components; 3 of which are covered by the WHO definition. These 4, according to the Stephen Covey classic “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, make up the 4 human dimensions. They are: Physical, Mental, Social/Emotional and Spiritual. All 4 are interconnected and when any one of them is negatively impacted we feel imbalanced, out of sorts and not our whole self, not being able to fully engage with life. For example, a physical injury such as a sprained foot can impact your mental and emotional wellbeing with thoughts and feelings of pain. Or when you are stressed or worried about something, those feelings can manifest in physical conditions, such as not being able to sleep, loss of appetite and feeling down. 

All 4 dimensions are required to be healthy and live a full life. 

What is Wealth?

If you have jumped straight to this section without reading the previous ones go back!⇑

Wealth in some cases is described as a large amount of money or valuables that someone has. It is also described as a large amount of something good e.g. “He has a wealth of experience in teaching”. There are many options to learn more about wealth from individuals, companies, books and groups.

A lack of wealth can cause unhappiness and health concerns. In many cases the paradox is that the pursuit of wealth leads to a decline in health and then that wealth is needed to restore or manage the health.

A certain amount of money is needed to live well in the world. For each person this is a different amount. Consider how much you really need and how much is for your wants. The Science of Happiness says that earning above $70,000 does not significantly improve a person’s happiness. 

In research, one group were given some money, about $20, and told to spend it on themselves and another group given the same amount of money and told not to spend it on themselves. The group that spent it on someone else had higher happiness levels. Also spending it on experiences as opposed to material things led to more happiness.

My own take on this is that a certain amount of money/assets etc. is needed to live well - think how much you really need. However real wealth is bigger than the finances, money, assets, and properties. It cultivates an abundance mindset - that there is enough for everyone. It encompasses giving the wealth of our time, energy, knowledge, service and money for a greater good. Being present, being there.

That the wealth should flow and do as much good as possible. Earn it, save it, invest it, grow it, protect it and share it. 

Warren Buffet one of the richest person in the world and a great investor is quoted as saying 

“The best investment you can make is in yourself”

What is Wisdom?

Wikipedia defines wisdom as 

“Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight”.

From our health perspective The Serenity Prayer provides wise advice:

“God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change; 

Courage to change the things I can; 

And wisdom to know the difference.”

Keep learning. From the Science of Happiness we know that learning new things positively impacts our happiness. Talks on Dementia highlight that an active, learning brain can help prevent or reduce the onset of Dementia. When learning, the brain is making new associations, connections and wiring the neurons. Learning new positive habits helps us feel good, stay well and deal better with life challenges. Some happy habits are counting your blessings, 3 good things –listing 3 good things that happened to you each day and mindfulness. The key is to practice them regularly so they become a daily habit and part of your lifestyle.

Patch Adams

Patch Adams the real life doctor who was played by the magnificent Robin Williams in the inspiring film of the same name has said:

“When we treat an illness we either win or lose, but if we treat the person, listen to them and love them, we can’t fail”

“The most radical act anyone can commit to is to be happy”

Benefits of Happiness & How to practice

Often when we have something we do not appreciate it until we lose it. This is often the case with good health, we often do not worry about it or pay much attention to it until it starts to deteriorate or be lost. That is where the practice of Gratitude, being grateful and counting our blessings comes in. 

Some scientific proven benefits for happiness - in particular Gratitude - from Gratitude Researcher Robert Emmons:

  • Practice of gratitude has dramatic, lasting and positive results: every time

  • Journal Diary - 2 weeks - sustained reductions in stress (25%) and depression (16%) in health care practitioners

  • 23% lower levels of stress hormones (cortisol)

  • 10% improvement in sleep quality in patients with chronic pain (76 % had insomnia) and 19% lower depression levels

  • Letter of gratitude reduced feeling of hopelessness in 88% of suicidal patients and increased levels of optimism in 94% of them

References

Lyubomirsky, Sonja : “The How of Happiness”

Greater Good Science Center, University of Berkeley: Image of Brain on Greater Good

Covey, Stephen : The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

WHO, Definition of Health : https://www.who.int/about/who-we-are/frequently-asked-questions

Emmons, Robert : The Little Book of Gratitude

Williams, Nick - Patch Adams quote: The Work we were Born to Do 

About the Author

Shaileen Shah is a Happiness Coach, Speaker and Trainer. Previously having been in finance technology for the investment banking arm of RBS during the RBS takeover of Natwest, the RBS takeover of ABN Ambro and the financial crisis he has experienced the challenges brought by uncertainty, change and stress. He is certified in The Science of Happiness and shares through Happy Life Habits. Happy Life Habits Positively Impacts Happiness & Well Being Levels by creatively and uniquely combining Personal Development + The Science of Happiness + Spirituality. A business for Good; supporting the UNs Sustainable Development Goals. For more information see HappyLifeHabits.co.uk.



Invitation to Shishukunj Bethak with Author and Coach Nick Williams

I am fortunate to be helping organise the next Shishukunj Bethak on 26th September 2019 where Nick Williams will be the speaker. Nick is a friend, I have read some of his books including his first “The Work We Were Born to Do” and the latest “Be Inspired. Be Inspiring. Be Yourself”, they are great. He brings a wealth of experience and a authentic, caring approach, The event is free, registration required and details are below.

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NAMASTE,

“Be Inspired. Be Inspiring. Be Yourself.”

Spiritual Leadership - enabling the best in yourself and others. Nick Williams is a best-selling author, leadership coach and mentor.

FREE insightful talk on Thursday 26th September 2019 at Shishukunj Bhavan at 25-27 High Street Edgware Middx HA8 7EE 

at 8:30pm - 10:00pm

We have tended to think that in order to offer leadership, you need to have a position of leadership, or someone needs to appoint, anoint or vote for you. But today, leadership can simply be a choice you make in any moment. We can all offer inspired leadership by following our call to lead, and don’t need a formal position of leadership. We can be“ordinary” and still offer inspired leadership. 

Inspired leadership is about helping to transform a thought system based on fear to one based on love and inspiration. In this very practical event, Nick will help you explore the next chapter of how you show up in your inspired leadership.

Nick is best selling author of over 16 books including the inaugural "The Work we are born to". He has been heart of the Alternatives programme for 21 years, and co-leading it for 3 years; hosting events for Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer; etc.

The bethaks are open to all. Please confirm your attendance by email to Laxmiben at
bethaks@shishukunj.org.uk.

If you do not wish to receive emails about Bethaks, kindly inform me and with your permission will remove you.  
there is ‘NO’ Bethak in October.

Inspired Mindful Moments During Taxing Times

I had not planned to write this blog but had an inspired mindful moment. Today is the last day of the current tax year. I remember a quote I had seen when I was younger.

Born Free, but taxed to death!

Tax, money, work, health, parents, kids, family, relationships, traffic, Brexit or lack off can all cause us stress. Stress in itself is not a bad thing, it is the body’s coping mechanism to deal with perceived threat and help us survive. The problem occurs when we have constant stress which are greater than our capacity to deal with them. Fortunately we can nurture, practice and develop coping systems that increase our capacity to deal with and bounce back. This is known as resilience. Happy Habits such as mindfulness and gratitude help build our resilience, perspective, ability to cope and find solutions.

Over the next month and bit I am fortunate to take part in various events where I can share about stress, resilience, mindfulness and happiness.Some are free public events and some are ticketed events. Details are below.

4th May “The Resilient Dentist” : Oshwal Dental Group

14 May “Mental Health Awareness: Habits for Happy Mental Health” : GLL Better Finchley Lido

30 May “Mental Health Awareness: Habits for Happy Mental Health” : Shishukunj

02 June “Journey from Stress to Happiness”: Oshwal Health and Care Fair : Oshwal Centre

In June I will be hosting an online 21 Day Mindfulness Challenge

If you are coming to any of the events let me know, would love to say hi.

I have capacity to share more and would love to do more events. So If you have opportunities at your work place or group let me know, especially for Mental Health Awareness, Resilience or Well Being.