Relationship with self is the underpinning of your life’s joy, freedom, and success when you let core values and mindfulness be your guiding compass.
Valentine’s Day is about love. It is a seasonal holiday through which we pause intentionally to express it and we often receive it. We particularly attune our feelings to the meaning in our relationships. Our greeting cards, written and spoken words convey to beloved friends, family, and partners how they have touched our hearts, souls, and minds, and frequently, we add new or renewed dreams and goals envisioning shared futures together.
Whether I am speaking, advising corporate clients, coaching business owners or helping authors to write their books and get published, I believe in a holistic approach to my work that encompasses all aspect of a person’s life. In short for me, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to invite and encourage you to join me both personally and professionally to spread our love to others as an essential daily purpose and a pathway to a joyous, fulfilled life. For in doing so, you will make the connections that unlock and empower aspirational love and direction within each of your relationships. You will also unleash the creative potential within each of the others you touch. You will choose conscious and loving intention every day, building vibrant friendships, family, organizations, and communities, while influencing our planet and humanity as a whole. Your love dropped as pebbles in the ocean of your daily life, can be the ripple that changes not only your but also our world.
How I came to embrace love and relationships as the centerpiece of my teachings began in India where I was fortunate to have a liberal upbringing. My parents encouraged my sister and me to be forward thinking. They taught us that there were no gender boundaries that created limitations and helped us realize our full potential.
India is a land of diverse cultures, different languages, religious beliefs, yoga and meditation, compassion, and much more. As I grew up with meditation and exposure to cultural diversity at home, school, and society, meditating became a way of life rather than a chore. It helped me to dream big, define my vision, lay the groundwork for clarity and purpose, and then start my journey with the discipline to stay the course. When I moved to the United States to continue my education here, it was a smooth transition because students and professors were from different cultures and embraced me in their world. The seed of connectivity was planted inside me early in life. I felt like I was one of them, and soon enough, we were arguing about the merits of Yankees versus Mets.
Drawn to science, I very much enjoyed figuring out how and why things worked in a certain way. Moving into biochemistry while in school, I learned about the interconnection between body, mind, and intellect. I began my career as a university associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, splitting my time between leading research efforts and teaching graduate students. After leaving academia, I entered the world of research labs and biopharmaceutical organizations. I had opportunities to show my leadership in program management, team leading, process engineering, personnel, and partnership development.
I began to develop a passion for coaching. My unbridled desire to make a positive impact on people led me to believe my true calling in life is to help leaders, entrepreneurs and achievers see their genius, reveal their masterpiece, and craft their message of significance. It led to a merger of biopharmaceutical career with coaching to develop effective evidence-based leadership and partnership programs. I had the opportunity to work with several pharmaceutical and financial organizations and supported them to achieve desired results. The relationships and connections I build with people is the icing on the cake, making my life more productive and fuller as a result.
The substance of everything I teach is that you need to focus on your vision of what you want and that you mindfully develop relationships of significance with yourself and others to achieve it. You might underestimate the power you have to design your life. You might feel stuck in your personal or professional life. I have discovered through my own experience, and by helping others apply the types of relationships I developed to their lives, that you can achieve professional and personal fulfillment at the same time. These connections allow us to bring more joy, more love, and more freedom in our lives.
A word here on mindfulness. As a definition, mindfulness is a conscious choice of living in the present, guided by value-based decisions and non-judgments. Mindfulness is also living with grace. As we focus on our goals, grace weaves its way into day-to-day activities and relationships.
Mindfulness brings self-awareness without judgment. Knowing yourself is the foundation of authenticity. Non-judgment allows you to be accepting of your strengths and limitations. You are open to finding out about your blind spots and emotional hindrances. You can turn them into assets driven by values and support of friends and mentors. Mindfulness equips you with the desire for growth allowing you to learn from your life experiences – failures and successes alike – while retaining humility.
It is necessary to exercise mindfulness as you explore the relationship you have with self and others. Some relationships may be more natural for an individual; others might take more effort. Regardless, the more you concentrate and work on a relationship, the easier it will be to integrate into your life. We will explore the nine essential relationships (self, time, money, market, team, partners, death, results, and legacy) that when illuminated in our consciousness, when embraced with grace and mindfulness will give us access to the humility and potential for resilient altruism that is a prerequisite for sharing oneself with others as the foundational bedrock for developing relationships and connections with others.
Relationship with Self
You might be saying, “I understand that you need to have relationships with various people to have success in your life’s work, but what do you mean a relationship with yourself?”
We do need relationships to do what we want in life. First, we need to have a clear understanding of ourselves before we can do anything. You must be clear on the values and message you share with yourself and others. With clarity, you will be empowered and prepare yourself for the desired outcome. Developing this relationship with self empowers you to speak out and communicate authentically. It is the crucial stepping stone to developing superb leadership skills.
Relationship with self is the underpinning of your life’s joy, freedom, and success. When you let core values and mindfulness be your guiding compass, you:
Will be able to stand up for yourself without being a doormat.
Will be able to forgive others for your sake and take the lessons learned from experiences to grow yourself and others.
Will uplevel self-trust, self-confidence, and peak performance.
Will, on the whole, build a rock-solid foundation that will weather both good and challenging times with equanimity.
Relationship with Time
One of my coaching clients, Lina, had a misguided relationship with time. She mistook busy for being productive. She couldn’t understand how she could work 12 hours a day and not seem to get anywhere. In her case, she started her own software company and was becoming frustrated at the inequity between her daily activity and profits.
As we worked together, Lina realized that time is the most valuable currency of life. The key to understanding a relationship with time is knowing where you are in your life right now, and where your personal and professional life is going to be in the long term. Once Lina’s vision for her life became clear, she was able to use her time wisely by minimizing distractions, and taking the RIGHT actions. Her company began to thrive, and she had had more free time to enjoy the fruits of her labor
Relationship with Money
People can have a complicated relationship with money. It is crucial to think about what your relationship with money is, especially when you desire a substantial increase in your profits. It’s great to earn it, but it is better to understand early on how to discipline yourself in its use. What you do with money is the most critical component of your relationship with it.
Nothing illustrates more of a person’s nature than what they do with money, particularly when they have either an extreme abundance or scarcity of it. When you align vision and values with personal and professional life, you can achieve balance. This connection carries over to money. Your money mindset allows you to know what having money means and knowing that money is not evil. It allows you the freedom to be mindfully aware of the present moment while knowing that our decisions and actions determine the results.
Your money mindset is going to determine the league you play in. If you think small, you are going to work with clients who want to play in a minor league or take opportunities that keep you in your comfort zone. If you believe that there is no limit to your business growth, your efforts will focus on clients who want you to help them grow to the next level. You will also seek out opportunities that will catapult you to unimagined levels. When you bring all your values into your work, your business will grow exponentially.
Relationship with Market
The relationship with money motivated me to understand my market. Knowing your market is essential whether you have your own business or are an executive in a large corporation. We all have a market depending on our business niche. The relationship with your market is essential because you need to align yourself with your market. That way, you can provide the best solutions for your clients in your particular area of expertise. Relationship with the market is knowing and understanding your ideal client, establishing your brand, making a positive impact, and serving your clients to help them succeed in their personal, professional, and financial goals.
I have had more than one client who felt like they were spinning their wheels trying to grow their business. Many times, the solution was to help them realize their company did not know and understood their customers well. Additionally, I helped them make a shift in their shotgun approach of trying to be everything to everybody into one of connecting and forming a relationship with those who could benefit the most from their products or services. This strategy enabled them to build a loyal customer base.
Relationship with Team
When you work with people to achieve a common goal, a healthy relationship with your team becomes essential to accomplish goals. With a team, the leader becomes the catalyst that leads his or her team to thrive, so each member is providing extreme value both individually and collectively. If you are the leader of a team, you have the responsibility of strengthening the relationship among the team.
When I work with organizational or business teams, I support them to become high performing teams with humanistic values. The focus is on purpose, encouragement, real-time feedback, and reinforcing structures. Happy team members play a significant role in each other’s personal, professional, and financial success because they help accomplish team’s goals as well as company’s goals. When you work as a collaborative team, everybody is involved in some way in the planning, designing, developing, and implementing those goals. When you achieve the goals, the entire team cheers and celebrates. After all, they were involved in making it happen!
When you have a connected team, you experience the contributions and support that enables you to orchestrate productivity, innovation, creativity, and the best quality of products and services. This profitability enhances everyone’s life. Your business becomes more than a paycheck to your team or something that sucks the joy out of people’s lives.
Relationship with Partners
Business is a system in which all parts and processes contribute to the success or failure of the whole. Business partners come in different forms. You might want partners who share in every aspect of your company from the initial establishment to turning it into a sustaining success. The purpose may be to partner up for one particular project. The partner would be someone who specializes in a different industry than yours, but his or her company complements yours perfectly because the partner brings a different perspective to business operations. By joining forces, you grow together.
We all work with other professionals outside of our organization or business. These specialists or contractors help us with various aspects of our company.
Whatever your intention is with a partner, it is important to realize that it is about collaborating, not competing. You are pooling resources of the mind and heart. With your partner, you want to create more opportunities, create more emotional and financial wealth, and go beyond what you can do alone. It also means that you sometimes need to have difficult conversations if you have people who are not keeping their end of the bargain.
For example, I formed a partnership with a book publisher, and we put together a written contract. The contract defined clear expectations including roles and responsibilities of both parties. However, the publisher failed to deliver their end of the agreement. After failed efforts of salvaging the relationship, I decided to cut them loose. Sometimes, working on a relationship with a partner involves limiting your losses before things become irreparable.
Relationship with Death
As they say, nothing is certain except death and taxes. Our society in the 21st century tries to insulate us from death. However, whenever we are close to death or failure, it forces us to explore our fears and feelings about the subject. By doing so, it provides us the opportunity to live our lives in a new and fulfilling manner.
This relationship is about accepting fear, working through it, and using the grit that you have deep inside of you to overcome it. It is about living life rather than passing through it. Shakespeare said, ‘A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once.’ By establishing your relationship with death, you learn to live with that fear in your life. It will help you overcome challenges, go after new opportunities, and set your affairs to take care of your loved ones and your business in the event of your death.
Relationship with Results
Relationship with results matters! Results are the milestones that let us know if we are going in the right direction. Success requires destination and destination needs direction. Life is a journey comprised of many goals. It is about living a mindful life driven by value-based decisions, learning, unlearning, and relearning while having fun and making life a play. Relationship with results is how you measure success, clearly defining outcomes, determining progress, and learning from failures as you work towards your goals.
This relationship can take on many forms. I have worked with people who did not know how to handle their success. They didn’t know what to do with it, how to continue it, or how to leverage it into even significant positive results. Think of that when you are getting closer to achieve your goals. Are you going to know what to do once you get there?
I had issues with my results when starting out in my coaching profession. I was working with great clients and having a degree of success regarding activity and income, but I wasn’t happy with it. I was able to scale up my business when I evaluated business growth and mindfully applied the lessons learned from successes and failures. I went from coaching individual clients to coaching teams and departments in bigger companies. Being comfortable in the relationship with my results allowed me to speak to several hundred people at once and write books to help many others.
Relationship with Legacy
Finally, there is the relationship with legacy. Usually, when we think of a legacy, it is what we leave behind after we leave this world. We all like to believe others will remember us by leaving something lasting behind. This is true to an extent, but you can start your legacy NOW! Empowerment has a ripple effect. Your fiery message can ignite a passion in someone else. Every time you act as a leader with your message, you permit others to choose challenge with courage.
There is so much you can do today that is going to leave an impression on someone’s future. It might be working with kids or seniors or animals. It can be working with a local nonprofit or being on the board of a national organization. You never know when giving of yourself is going to impact a person’s future. You might not even know them personally, but your efforts could change someone’s life forever.
Part of what I teach others and advocate in my own life is creating a sustained solution message. I donate a portion of my books’ profits to KIVA (Kiva.org). It is an international nonprofit with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. By giving as little as $25 to Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy, or realize their potential. For some, it’s a matter of survival; for others, it’s the fuel for a life-long ambition.
I take a great interest in the lives of our youth. I do not look at it as a cliché but as truth: Children are our future. In some places, our youth have limited access to educational opportunities that could shape their lives and community for the better. The organizations that I have partnered with take a systematic approach to address root issues rather than slap a Band-Aid on a problem. Hence, I partner with TMT Youth Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on accessing, developing, and growing the talents of the youth. I also partner with The Little Maker’s Academy that focuses on collaborative learning and critical thinking with young students through hands-on STEAM activities.
I work with Inspire NC, which is a student-led non-profit organization whose aim is to promote interest, knowledge, and involvement in the fields of STEAM and develop leadership in the next generation of youth. One of their ventures is a Robotics Team that I mentor. These young people work at building and operating robots. They have fun doing it. I don’t know how many of them will become great scientists or engineers in the future, but I know what I do is having an impact on their lives.
My work with relationships is one of my legacies, and I take seriously the contribution I make to others’ lives. I believe that when you make a difference in your life, a loved one’s life, or someone else’s, one blends into another. When you are confident in your passion, you work at it. I have a passion for making a difference. I want to reach out and genuinely help others. I find opportunities to do that every day whether it is something small or a larger endeavor. Let this Valentine’s Day become the springboard for empowering love in your and others’ lives every day.
Live the Life You Want
Grateful I am,
For who I am.
Today, I am,
Ready to take on tomorrow.
When I look back on today,
I have no sorrow.
Right or wrong, choices I will make,
Every day, for my sake
Action over inaction
Purpose, pain, and passion
Learning to unlearn and relearn
Prepared for what awaits me,
Around every corner, I turn.
Support each other,
and grow together.
And bridge nations.
Live your legacy.
There’s no fallacy.
Achieving success, happier than ever.
Reducing our stress in this joyful endeavor.
The future is now our present.
Nimbly unwrap your return on investment.
First published in WomELLE Magazine issue 4 – February 2018 and you can learn more about Divya Parekh by visiting her website.
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