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- As long as I have an excellent heart, I am fine with weak kidneys and a suboptimal liver. This is ridiculous but this is how we normally live our lives. We believe that we can only excel in one dimension, one realm of our lives, not in all or more dimensions. Out of various realms of life – persona, professional, partnerial or parental, it is possible to excel in one of these. SPICE intends to fix our fixation with one-dimensional life.
- Boys fix things. Girls need things fixed. This is ridiculous, again, but we normally differentiate between genders like this. Men are physiologically and psychologically better programmed for professional pursuits and women are similarly better suited for partnering, caregiving, parenting, and family building. SPICE wants to break the ‘separate spheres ideology’ that men should excel outside the home and women should excel inside the home.
- Is a ‘list of deathbeds regrets of women’ available? Well, no, no one ever thought about it. We only have such lists for men. Ridiculous, but true. The realms in which women are expected to excel are not given the importance that they deserve outside the home. Partnerial and parental skills are ‘lowlights’ and professional skills are ‘highlights’ of life. All the work that goes into raising a family, sustaining a marriage, fostering self-improvement and solving world issues is just a side dish on the plate of life. SPICE strives to bring women perspective in the professional arena with the dignity that it deserves.
- If you are a marathon runner and a CEO learning from running can improve your skills as a CEO and vice-a-versa. But people are ‘domain dependent’. They fail to recognize the same idea when it is presented in a different context. They feel that transfer learning happens amidst machines only. SPICE ventures boldly into the importance of transfer learning between various realms of life.
- You are 65. Please retire from work and life. Ridiculous once again. But followed by most of us. We retire from living by the time we become platinum and wait gloomily for diseases and death to strike. This is our worst service to ourselves. SPICE embraces life after 50 as the beginning of a robust second-half of career and life after 75 as a dignified dotage plan.
Are you ready to incorporate these changes into your mindset? If yes, excellence is waiting for you. If no, don’t complain about your present.
You have a cooking range with three or four burners at home.
Imagine you are boiling milk on the regular burner which gives out the most convenient flame. Then, you need to make the breakfast.
What do you do?
You shift the pot of milk on the lowest flame and cook your breakfast on the convenient burner. You do not keep the half boiled milk aside. You keep it on a low flame, may be very low so that it doesn’t demand your attention and lets you concentrate on the breakfast.
Consider the milk to be your career and breakfast to be your family priority – children, eldercare or some emergency.
You switch the burner off when the milk comes to a boil. Now it will not rot and will remain hot for quite some time.
Milk coming to a boil is the first inning of your career after which you can switch the burner off if the need be.
You can use the boiled milk later but you need to pay attention. There are other options too. Either refrigerate it or reheat it or thicken it to turn it into ‘khoya’ to be used even after a few days.
Just the way you add some coffee or fruits to the cold milk to make a milkshake, you can refrigerate your qualification, experience and then add some short-term courses to make an updated qualification for a new professional opening.
Just the way you thicken the milk for later use, you can polish your parenting skills which could be extremely useful like ‘khoya’ after a long break. These skills could be related to negotiation, conflict resolution, communication, empathy, and emotional intelligence.
Just don’t think that the milk, like your career, will turn stale or sour. Have confidence that you can use it in numerous ways to your advantage, just be creative with it.
Be happy if it turns sour. We will have paneer (cottage cheese), then.
It is high time that we notice these parents who are professionals and have decided to transition into the realm of parenting.
They are practitioners of ‘deliberate motherhood/fatherhood’.
These people are different from those couples where one is a professional while another one straight away takes a train to the ‘parenting station’.
They wish to spend some time on the parenting station before getting back on the professional train. They might create a business on the ‘platform’ of parenting or they might pick another vehicle to go forward, later on.
Let us call these parents PROBE PARENTS.
A PROBE Parent is a Professional before becoming a parent.
For an educated working professional to say that ‘I am not working now’, “I am on a sabbatical’, ‘I am raising my little one’, it sounds helpless.
It sounds like a choice when you say that you are a ‘PROBE PARENT’.
Merely naming a category is not enough. We need to design a path for such professionals who take mini breaks or a major break and wish to join back at a later age.
I don’t separate work and play – it’s all living, says Richard Branson.
Why don’t most of us understand this fluidity of our lives which gives us fulfillment?Why do we chase professional success and fame leaving behind our partnerial, parental and even personal journeys?
We sprint with a professional cape on, while the other Ps – Partner, Parent, and Person in us wait for tomorrow that never comes.
Wait. Look back. Pick up all the Ps and change your race.
Go into a marathon with all the Ps – Professional, Partner, Parent, and Person within you.
This is a serious advice I am giving myself these days.
Do you agree?
Having ‘skin in the game’ means ‘investing your own money in the company that you are promoting’. In simple words, having ‘skin in the game’ means ‘owning the risk in the game’.
Do not own a part of your life.
Own the whole.
Invest yourself in all the four Ps – Person, Professional, Partner and Parent in you.
Politicians announcing wars have no skin in the game unless their children go to the war while the army men have their skin in the game.
Let all the Ps have skin in the game.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb says that the artisans whose survival depends on their reputation have skin in their game.
If being a responsible partner, parent, & person becomes a sign of good reputation, only then these roles will have ‘skin in the game’.
Own all your realms. Take risks, be volatile and vulnerable but value yourself as a partner and parent, as much as you value yourself as a person and a professional.
Do you agree?
Noted T.V. personality, chef, owner of Bizarre Foods, Andrew Zimmern believes that a good recipe for kitchen or life depends on in-depth detail. He says “If you find twenty on-line recipes for a pound cake, go with the recipe that even describes the size of the pan to be used. The person who confidently gives the tiniest of the detail has been there, done that”.
SPICE is such a detailed recipe to live a life full of meaning where we do justice to all the predominant roles that we play.
SPICE is not about how to get rich. It is about how to get real.
SPICE is ‘embracing your reality’ in total. Embrace the professional pod, the partner pod, the parent pod, and the person pod in you, all at once to create a life where none of these pods clamor for attention. They coexist in the space of all genders. If this coexistence and balanced inner innovation won’t take place, the existence of families will be in jeopardy. Happiness and mindfulness will become obsolete.
In this hyper-connected world, let us use all the ‘pods’ of our personality to cruise through the Hyperloop of life. The convergence of 4 Ps should be the motto of a holistic and heroic life.
Dig deep in each P to pick up the pebbles of purpose and action, the why and the how of your role.
Go to the professional piece and ask,
“Why am I doing what I am doing?”
“How am I going to reach the purpose?”
“What actions do I take to reach the purpose?”
“What I do not do?”
Dive deep into the Partnerial piece and ask,
“Why am I partnering with this person?”
“Is this out of love, need, convenience, respect, conditioning (social pressure), or mutual benefit?”
“How do I intend to make this work?”
“What do I do and what don’t I do to keep the partnership going from strength to strength?”
Dwell deep into the parental piece and ask,
“Why am I getting into this longest-term commitment?”
“What is the purpose?”
“How am I going to prepare for the parental stint in life?”
“What do I intend to do and what will I not do to make it work?”
Dab deep in the ‘Person’ piece to sum up the question,
“Who do I want to be?”
“Why do I want to be that?”
“How do I be the real me?”
This is a “↓ dig deep inside” action to be taken by all the Ps inside us.
Then, there is a “↖↗↖↗ holding hands horizontally” action to be taken by all the Ps, creating the hyphenated connection. The hyphen symbolizes being equal in a hierarchy-less environment. All the Ps should be connected but none of them takes center stage or dominates the rest. This is what we need to achieve.