What happens if you are not a SPICE Personality?

A SPICE personality doesn’t focus on one role while underplaying or ignoring or cheating in other roles.

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Pic courtesy – Swaraa Lodha

A SPICE personality is someone who strives to excel in all the prominent roles that he plays in his/her life, as a partner (to the spouse/friends/peers), as a parent (to children and one’s parents), as a professional and as a person.

A SPICE personality doesn’t focus on one role while underplaying or ignoring or cheating in other roles. He/She strives to strike a balance in his/her life by playing to the potential as a parent, partner, professional, as well as a person.

What do you lose when you are not a SPICE personality?

  1. You become a linear thinker who focusses on riding only the parental wave or the professional wave. You get obsessed with being the super boss or the supermom (super dads?). While believing that you have no time for other roles. You compartmentalize and box yourself and that leads to resentment and feeling of loss later. Many Indian women friends of mine gave up their careers because they were expected to focus only on their families. Society and parents judge women harshly when they think about a work deadline and the husband wants hot breakfast. A young dad recently told me, ‘Recently, I massaged my two-month-old son. My wife was surprised yet happy but my mother did not approve of it.’ I gave him a high five to start giving a bath too to his baby.
  2. If you focus on your profession only, you become a peak professional but a reluctant parent or an absent partner. You will get the professional spotlight on you while your close ones get relegated to dark corners or feel neglected. Steve Jobs followed Zen which means attention while designing life-changing products for Apple but could never pay attention to empathy in relationships. It has caused a lot of pain to his children and friends.
  3. You lose touch with authenticity. There might be a team of associates and subordinates who agree with your views and decisions owing to your authoritative position, not the genuine respect.

But think about your partner or your children. Do they love you and respect you for who you are or because that is conditioned and convenient? Mahatma Gandhi was respected by all Indians while their family suffered a lot due to his ideologies that gave his wife and children no freedom.

A one-dimensional success puts you on an inauthentic road where you feel you have arrived while your close ones might not be sharing the same idea.

This success gives euphoria but fulfillment remains far away.

If you give all your time and energy in raising children and building a family while ignoring your own self, that again makes you feel incomplete and used. Your children might be the most adorable and accomplished and you would try to take solace in thinking that it was worth it, your own interests and dreams will haunt you and cause bitterness. A retired teacher once told me,’Being a parent is a thankless job. My students valued me more.’

  1. Focusing on only one part of your persona is akin to putting all your money in one bag. Rather than having a balanced portfolio, a skewed portfolio spikes danger. If your professional success, for which you sacrifice all the remaining roles, takes a beating for whatever reason, you will be completely crestfallen. You will not get any cushion to ease the blow.

If you focus excessively on the words of a song and not the melody and music arrangement, expect a dud.

Why do we need ‘SPICE’ in life?

Excellence in life comes from summing up the skills that we create and develop in both settings – at home and at the workplace.

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Pic Courtesy: Memory Makers

I am a woman, a wife, a mother and a professional. I have pivoted my profession so that I can savor some special moments with my daughter who is in her high school and starts college next year. This pivot has made me pretty available around the house which has not been a usual sight for last fifteen years of our family history.

So, I experience some conversations like these :

  • “Look at these napkins. I just don’t like the color. Also, why can’t we have of the tray of face towels and hand towels by the side of the wash basin in the dining area?” asked my husband, irritated.

We have had this discussion once before where I told him that it will be a hassle at home to have a lot of small towels for washing, drying, folding and replacing every day.

I come from ‘Keep it simple’ school while he comes from ‘Make it grand’ school. Alas, the twain doesn’t meet.

Anyway, to avoid a hat-trick of the same discussion, I took the grand decision. My husband uses three towels every day from the stack with pride and loves the arrangement when guest come over.

  • Though he watches videos and travels by cabs, he considers the phone to be a menace (All the incoming calls are on reject mode on his phone). As a result, I generally book these cabs because he doesn’t like the hassle.

“Why do you give the house number? Give only the number of the building? He asks each time he hears me talking to the driver.

I have explained it to him that it is needed if you want the cab to be waiting for you just outside the building, not the compound. Still, he asks the same question every time thinking I need some correction.

  • Recently, my daughter was debating with me about the trouser she should wear for a formal school event. It is a very tough decision for a teenager to make and I was trying to scrape for all the patience in me to keep having a ‘dialogue’ with her.

The father entered the discussion to offer advice. As he was not regularly a part of these decision-making sessions, he found our daughter to be rude and unnecessarily angry for no reason. She settled for a trouser quickly to close the discussion in presence of a foreign entrant but the parting shot came from this new entrant on the scene, “What is the point of writing all these Parenting Books when your daughter is so ill-behaved?”

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That set me thinking. Such thoughts, opinions have been around for so long that we assume them to be acceptable.

Anyone who takes on domestic and parenting responsibilities by staying at home becomes a collector of such thoughts, opinions, beliefs that start changing you the way age does – silently, subtly but substantially.

The partnering and parenting domains are considered as an operational hazard by those who are passive participants in these. But they reserve their right to judge, instruct and advise.

sPice framework is neither about women leaving professional roles and falling off the leadership cliffs nor about how to stick to the ambition. It is about valuing the work of everyone who is ‘working’ away from meeting rooms and office desks and creating a skillset which is professionally relevant and ‘lifely’ must.

Why is ‘Leadership’ offered a pedestal and ‘Parenting’ offered a Sigh?

Why is ‘Leadership’ celebrated and ‘Parenting’ tolerated?

Why ‘Leadership’ is a life-long learning but ‘Parenting’ is a gap in the resume?

If leadership skills help a person and an organization discover himself and contribute meaningfully, parenting skills do the same, rather more profoundly.

With artificial intelligence taking the mechanical aspect of our jobs away, humans would be left to focus more on the ‘human’ aspects of our jobs – that which can’t be executed by machines.

The creative, collaborative, and communicative skill set required for us to succeed and stay relevant has deep roots in our skill-sets that make us effective parents, caregivers, and homemakers.

Excellence in life comes from summing up the skills that we create and develop in both settings – at home and at the workplace.

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Persona or Person

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Pic courtesy: Swaraa Lodha

We always see the persona, not the person. Persona is ‘cool’ while a person is ‘useful’.

A persona is a mask which tells you a part of the story, while a person is a story.

Persona is magnetic, but the person is authentic.

Persona is our present to the world while the person is our present to ourselves.

The lesser the gap between the persona & the person, the happier we are.

Check your ‘professional persona’, ‘partner persona’ and ‘parent persona’.

If we accept our vulnerabilities, we can merge these personas with the person that we are.

Happy Striving!

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Fearless or Fear Less?

It is difficult and dangerous to be fearless.

But it is powerful and peaceful to fear less.

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Pic Courtesy: Swaraa Lodha

Is fear an adjective or a noun for you?

Fear, as a noun or adjective is stationary and makes us overconfident. It prompts us to take risks where none is needed.

Is fear a verb in your life?

Fear, as a verb is fluid and makes us balanced. It prompts us to dilute our fears, not to ignore them at our own peril.

It is difficult and dangerous to be fearless.

But it is powerful and peaceful to fear less.

What is your desired difficulty?

The problems of the present may become the desired difficulty of tomorrow. Every weakness and every failure can become a desired difficulty.

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Research by Julie Logan at City University London shows that around one-third of successful innovators/entrepreneurs have been dyslexic.

Being dyslexic becomes the desired difficulty termed, a difficulty that prompts and prepares them to succeed.

Many successful dyslexic people like George Barnard Shaw, Richard Branson attribute their successful journeys to their dyslexia as it helped them in adapting very well to the uncertain environment.

What is your desired difficulty?

The problems of the present may become the desired difficulty of tomorrow. Every weakness and every failure can become a desired difficulty.

My failure to understand ‘directions’ has turned into a desired difficulty.

First, it keeps me alert. Second, it helps me explore things. Third, it gives me a chance to laugh at myself.

 

Find the ‘P’ of sPice.

Mozart was happily married, but his wife wasn’t.

Do you like yourself as a spouse? If yes, ask your spouse. Maybe, you are happily married, but your spouse isn’t.

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Mozart was happily married, but his wife wasn’t.

Do you like yourself as a spouse? If yes, ask your spouse. Maybe, you are happily married, but your spouse isn’t.

Do you love yourself as a parent? If yes, ask your children. Maybe, your performance appraisal by them could be a game changer.

Do you respect yourself as a professional? If yes, ask a subordinate. Maybe, your enlightenment awaits you.

Open op, observe, absorb and shut-up.

Pause and Ponder.

A new ‘Person’ will emerge.

 

What is your favourite failure?

Find out your favorite failure & discover yourself.

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What is your ‘favorite failure’?

If you start thinking about it, let’s go a little deeper.

  • What is your favorite failure as a spouse?
  • What is your favorite failure as a parent?
  • What is your favorite failure as a professional?

Share your answers and know yourself better.

My answers are

  • I have failed to develop a daily shared routine for my partner and me.
  • I have failed to inspire my daughter to pick a sport.
  • I failed to scale-up my first venture.