I had a dream

Today I landed in Shanghai from New York for day one of my world travel. Do you have a dream in your life? I have had several dreams. When I was a kid, my dream was to eat as much chicken. The dream got fulfilled after I became an engineer, and I never have to worry about not eating as much chicken as I want. Then my dream was to become a top-notch engineer who can solve any problem that is thrown at him. That dream was fulfilled as I worked my way up to becoming a senior engineer at companies like Verizon and Ebay. My new dream for the past couple of years has been to travel the world and connect with people.

However, I felt I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have the financial means to do it, and more importantly, I didn’t feel I have the skills to connect with people. So I joined Toastmasters to develop the people skills to talk to people. Then I went through a coach training program to develop the skills to connect with people. If you know me, I am super frugal, but it gave me the financial stability. Because of my transformative work, I am able to fulfill my dreams to travel the world and connect with people. Today is day one of fulfilling that dream.

When you are pursuing your dreams, life throws bonuses at you. In my case, because of my coach training program, I became a professional speaker and a trained coach to help other engineers discover their version of the dreams. As I am traveling the world, I am also doing what I love – speaking at conferences and coaching engineers. Life is about discovering your dreams are and taking steps to uncover them. Please share with me in the comments below what your dreams are.

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What to do when your wife flips tables:

It was a date night with my wife, and we planned to see a movie. I asked my wife to hang on for a few minutes while I continued to work on a presentation for my speaking business. I was so focused on my project, and I lost sight of time. Fifteen minutes passed, and my wife was still patient, but after waiting an hour her patience turned into frustration, after two hours, her frustration became anger, and she yelled, “are you coming or not?” I was frustrated as I wanted to continue work on my project, and when she suggested movies to see, I reacted by yelling, “I hate these movie nights. We can’t even agree on a movie so what’s the point?” and continued to say “I would rather spend time with friends than doing these date nights,” her pale face turned red, and then I saw our coffee table flying in the air. 

I realized I had gone too far, and I hugged her tightly whispering “it’s ok, calm down.” She said, “I need to release the fire in my belly. I need to hit something” I was thinking, “please don’t go for my face.” So I guided her towards the bed and said go for it! She was able to release her fire by kicking the shit out of bed. 

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As my wife beat the bed I was thinking of the  opportunities this situation presented, and a quote by Bruce D Schneider came to mind, “life offers neither problems nor challenges but only opportunities.” Because of coaching, I was able to remain present yet unaffected and judgment-free! It was at that moment that I understood that “everyone does the best they can at any moment based on their beliefs.” Remembering these quotes helped me remain calm and enabled me to seek out the opportunity or silver lining as some would call it. 

The next day, we sat together to have a chat. My wife inquired why I wouldn’t spend time with her? I told her that I do not enjoy going to the movies and find it to be an anti-social experience and that we have a deep connection, and would rather be doing something fun that we both enjoy or hanging out with friends. Then I suddenly remembered something that gave me an aha moment. There were times when I  felt excited about movie nights, and it had nothing to do with the movie, it was all about the snacks! I rediscovered how much I enjoyed eating yummy food at the movie theater, but it wasn’t just at the movies, it was everywhere. 

My wife, being a great coach, was curious to know more about my relationship with food and started asking me clarifying questions. I was honest and vulnerable, as I  told her about not having enough food as a child. I explained the memory of always wanting chicken, but my parents could not afford it; I told her how that feeling of not having enough food followed me through life.  I became obsessive, and even my roommate had thrown me out of our college apt due to my excessive eating. My mother suggested I become an engineer so I could afford all the food I craved, which I did! To this day, eating great food is one of the primary purposes of my life. However, I  have learned to work it into my lifestyle in a healthy way and do things like go to the gym so I can enjoy food without the guilt! By sharing my most vulnerable thoughts, my wife could share her fears and feelings of abandonment, and I understood from a place of curiosity why quality time meant so much to her. 

In summary, this situation presented the opportunity for us to learn about ourselves and each other on a deeper level. There was a time when I avoided angry people because of memories of an angry father growing up. However, because of my training as a coach,  I was able to detach from anger or reaction. In the argument with my wife, I was able to be present, and judgment-free as my wife expressed her anger, beat up the bed, and did what she needed to do to release her anger. I didn’t take it personally because I understood where her anger comes from. This led us to a heartfelt, honest conversation. We were able to be vulnerable and as a result, my wife acknowledged my desire for great food and began cooking dishes that I love. I, in turn, am fully present for date nights. I even plan fun things that we both enjoy while fulfilling her need for quality time. Life provides us opportunities to grow and learn as long as we are open to see them and can let go of judgment. 

Here is a challenge: How we do one thing is how we do anything. If you can make a shift in one area of life where you are experiencing conflict, it will shift all areas of your life. In other words, if you can make peace in your personal relationship, you can make peace in your career, business, and every other relationship. I challenge you to look for the opportunity in a conflict you are experiencing in one area of life and do so without judgment and curiosity. It will quickly transform all areas of your life where you are experiencing conflict. Would love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comments below. 

 

Fathers are unsung heroes

Fathers are often underappreciated for their contribution to their family mainly because most men follow the belief system: “strong men don’t show emotions”. So it makes it tough for most men to connect to their kids though they literally sacrificed their entire lives for one and only one thing – to offer a quality life for their kids on a golden platter.

My relationship with my father took me on a journey from a carefree child to waging an uphill battle with my life, and back to becoming free again. He was strict, yes really really strict. He freaked out when I was hanging out with friends who he perceived as losers, he would yell when my grades went down, and he grounded me when I was partying after 10 PM. While the stringent childhood helped me earn a college degree and opened the world of opportunities as my father wished for, it also took a toll on my adult life as I was constantly afraid to make a mistake fearing punishment and society’s judgement.

However, all that changed after I met my wife who saw the best in me. Her transformation with coaching inspired me to hire a coach Neil Goldstein, an MIT graduate and now an executive coach who helped me gain awareness of my thoughts. I was able to reverse the negative impact my stringent childhood had on me so I could experience freedom again, caring less about what others think and instead following my heart. Today I see a life presented in front of me on a golden platter just like my father wished for, and none of this would have happened without my father’s fierce protection in my childhood. I could have easily become a drug addict, alcoholic, rapist, murderer or suffered depression as an unloved child – the qualities which are not easily reversible as an adult, but he did not let that happen. While my dad was tough many times, he ALWAYS cared and loved. Even as a kid I never questioned his steadfast commitment to my well being.

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To this day I cherish my self-restraint skills that my father helped me cultivate by being strict which helps me stay disciplined in areas I choose to practice self-restraint. Fathers are unsung heroes and it is true in my case. I have until now underappreciated my dad only because he loved me fiercely. If you love your Dad and haven’t recognized his greatness and love he showed for you, acknowledge him before it’s too late. Happy Father’s day Dad.