Business Blooms through Challenges

This is a true story about a business that is not so glamorous yet so beautiful. It is a story of a woman entrepreneur who did not choose this business for herself but the business chose her. This story is about us, the consumers, who most often forget how important these businesses are who are offering products that are not truly recognised by us. 

Flowers, Gifting, Baking are businesses that investors do not see value in, consumers assume they will always be around to provide and government still considers them as disposable whenever needed. Today, I write about a business & its leader who I came across very recently and we work very closely with them. VK Flora is the business name & Lakshmi is the business owner.

As stated earlier, Lakshmi did not choose VK Flora, circumstances and responsibilities brought her to the chair that today she sits on as the sole leader for a business that is 30 plus year old, with crores of turnover, employees spread across locations in the city and challenges in abundance yet, she smiles her beautiful pleasant smile at every challenge, she works closely with her team members, she is soft spoken, kind hearted & passionate to learn and not give up. She is a true example of a business leader, if she had a mindset of a “startup founder” she must be riding the highest of clouds, claiming her business to be in 100s of crores but naaahhhhhhh.. she is just a Business Owner, who believes in what she can, what she must and what she will. She is not going after investors, she is not giving up just coz challenges keep coming at her. She definitely does not hesitate to learn the new tricks of business. In simple she has her head down and moves with one foot ahead of the other with focus on growing her “Exotic Flower Business” to the next level. As for me, I know I will walk along with her, lead her at times, push her forward at few, but she will find me with her always. 

Now, let us speak a little on the business. Do you know that in India, Flowers are one such category of products that have been burdened with the responsibility of being present with births, deaths, happy and sad moments & why so, because they bring vibrancy and calmness to those around them. A business that delivers these products holds equal responsibility of ensuring the best is reached to their customers. This is how critical a Flower Business is about. 

VK Flora brings the most exotic flowers in India directly from the “Floriculturists”. Lakshmi and her team have their own vehicles that brings the best of the best products to her set-up and further gets it delivered to their B2B customers from across the country. They recently started B2C as well with pandemic coming in, even though it did not make much sense, they still did it, after all they had to keep the company afloat and they did, powerfully. 

Last week, I picked some for myself and I would like to just end this story by saying, I smile brighter every morning now when I see these beautiful exotic flowers in my living. I get inspired looking at them between my work calls because they seem to smile back at me at all times, whispering “you got this girl”. 

Let us today take a moment to all these amazing business owners who have been around forever bringing the best to us as their consumers and yet, we do not invest much of our mind-space to appreciate them. If you are intrigued enough about this amazing woman business owner and the business, here is her link for you

Smiles are Magical

There is a kid, continents away from me, he is months old and has no clue I even exist, I have never met him, his smile can change the way I see life. His smile can make me believe in the goodness of this world. His smile can get me out of the darkest space I could be in, in my thoughts. This kid with his magical smile has that power over me.

This simple act of magic from the past few months pushed me to write this blog on this topic.

When is the last time you “Truly Smiled”?

I am not speaking about the change of your face muscles. I am also not writing about the cordial expression that you pass on to someone. I am referring to that “SMILE” that brightens your day, that brings a glow in your eyes and that expression that makes you feel alive, even for just that 1 minute. When is it that you did that?

Dr. Brian L Weiss writes in his book,” Messages from the Masters”, about how when we are born, we are in our true form of freedom. Our early months or even years, we bring the best to this world from the heavens above and I see that it is very true when I see this little “joy of happiness” that has come into my life.

Hence, I have started to smile through my heart even if it is a nod to a stranger, message to a loved one or a sign of acknowledgment to an associate. I smile with my heart. I smile with every ounce of goodness that is within me. After all it is just that small investment of a moment of me into this effort of smiling and it can go a long way for the others around, even those who you are not even directly in touch with. Because a true smile is contagious. It gets carried from one to the other within moments.

You think I am wrong, try this small exercise someday. As you walk by the road side, give a true smile to a stranger passing by. Then turn around and follow him / her and you will see, they will smile back to someone else & if they do, follow the one they smiled at and see the chain that gets formed.

But if you believe that “True Magical Smile” exists, then do not waste another moment.

Smile at your neighbour, smile at your client, smile at your investors, smile at your friend, smile at your enemy and just keep smiling. After all, it is this one beautiful life that we are passing through, let us do that with smiles that are magical.

How much has changed?

75 Years of India and its a Monday. For the last 4 weeks, I have been sharing some thoughts with you every week on a Monday. So, decided that today we shall take 5 mins out of our special day and look at how much has changed for us in these 75 years. There are so many things that we have started taking lightly. Especially now then ever due to information overload and the need by brands & media to make us look beyond what is to what we can be, to what we have achieved to what we could get. All this has done one major damage to our thinking. We have stopped valuing what we have and are always in the “need for more” mode. So let us see how much of this can be reset today with this short read from me.

75 years ago

  • We could finally become a member in a Gym (Gymkhana)
  • We had 1 airline (AirIndia)
  • Rupee 1 was 16 Annas and each Anna was 4 Paise
  • We had 100,000 landlines in the whole country
  • We had 338 long distance calling offices in the nation
  • Sending a post card (the only way to communicate) costed half an anna
  • Highest Government Job’s Salary was Rs.2,000/- and lowest Rs.55/-
  • Rupee 1 = USD 1
  • 1 Gram of Gold costed Rs.88/- and 1 Acre of land was Rs.17,000/-
  • All cars were imported and the cheapest car costed Rs.2,500/-
  • 300 kids died for every 1 lakh births
  • Life expectancy was 32 years, mid-life crises would be around 20 years
  • We had 350,000 kilometres of road across the nation

These above, very few facts give you an understanding of the progress that we have made as a society, as a nation. It is unfair to take things lightly.

  • Communications – We don’t have to be so angry and negative on things that we share with the world. Imagine just 7-8 decades ago, there was no way to remove our frustrations on to others, to dump our opinions, to pass judgements, to bring down someone else, even if we did not know them personally, to believe that posting on social media, whatsapp or even picking a phone to scream at someone is just a small thing is wrong in so many levels. We as a generation that is alive today are blessed to have what we have and it is our responsibility to do it right. To protect the basics of being humans, being a society, a nation and one in every form.
  • Transportation – It literally takes 3 clicks on your mobiles to have a car standing outside your door. Today, we judge people’s status with the kind of vehicle they own. This in itself is so wrong. We are people who are children of those who could not even think about owning a car, that does not mean they were unhappy or not worthy enough. I remember in my childhood times, traveling to Chennai would mean changing 2 trains or 3 busses and recently I read some news that with the new expressway, it would take us 2 hours to drive to Chennai from Bangalore. That is where we are today.
  • Life – As you read above, 30s is as far as we could live or were expected to live. I am myself 52 and active enough to beat a 20 year old in the gym. So, let us value this additional time that has been gifted to us. Choosing an healthy options for your meals, stepping out for a run, not abusing your body with substances or alcohol, sleeping for 7 hours and being positive about life is as simple and basic it can be. Question is, “what is keeping you away from it?”
  • Relationships – The last year, I have put in a huge part of myself to create healthy relationships. Frankly, I am still on it and I know it is a “Work in Progress” till the end of line. But it is very important to have healthy relationships. Not relationships with labels as per the society. Like a parent, spouse, sibling, neighbour, relative, these names do not matter if they are unhealthy. So focus on healthy relationships, person who respects the other, is fair and not judgemental when it comes to actions and is able to put oneself in the other’s place and react accordingly.

Hope the coming 75 years, we all work towards leaving a world that has more progress made on people’s thinking, the openness in a thought process, the acceptance of other’s thinking and a life expectancy double to what it is now & just because we as humans are healthier, happier and more giving than what we are today. Value what we have and learn to share with no expectations.

A very special Independence Day to all of you reading this and with tons of love, pride and dreams filled in my heart for this Power Nation, for all the Indians across the world, I end this here but hey, you know you can always discuss more with me though [email protected] or [email protected]

Losing an argument is a win after all

People argue for the sake of an argument, some do it to keep the other person occupied and some do it just coz they are committed to be proven correct. The one thing that happens in all these various ways of arguments is you discharge a lot of your precious energy, mind-space and valuable time and most often with no good returns for you. So, why do we do it in the first place?

Do we all agree that life is nothing but lot of moments stitched together & in these moments, we are left to make choices that go to create the experience of how we live. A brief study done by me before I wrote this blog brought to my attention that a person makes anything close to 6000 choices in a day. So, when you are trusted with a responsibility of making so many choices, every day of your life, then let us reduce that number as much as possible and change some more choices into habits.

Arguments are not just a result of our choice, it is initiated more often by people around so you can go to blame the other for pulling you in a situation that you did not ask for. You surely can do it but it does not help you in any way. It is important to understand your gains & losses from time spent on something, independent of who initiated the argument.

It just comes down to you making a simple process driven thought to any conversation that you get into and you can start with choosing to do it, one day at a time and soon you will see that it will become your habit.

Step 1 – Acknowledge the fact that conversations have the tendency of turning into arguments. Most often, you don’t get into a convo to argue. It happens to happen

Step 2 – Know the difference between a conversation & an argument. It is just not the tonality, it is also what is being said or heard that helps you make out the difference

Step 3 – Keep the blame game aside. One of the biggest reason for people not welcoming change easily is because they do not think they need to change. So, if you begin with thinking that it is not you who is arguing, you would not be able to stop the flow.

Step 4 – Evaluate your gain or loss that you will get out of engaging in the argument. Unless you do not clearly & tangibly know what your gain or loss is from something, you will not know how much of you must you invest in it. This is not a mammoth of a task, it would take not more than 10 seconds of human brain to get this cleared out as you are in the middle of something. so do it.

Step 5 – Whatever be the outcome, you can always walk-away from the argument saving your time, energy and sometimes even dignity. You might be thinking right now, that if I walk away at that point then I will have to take up a huge loss, then why should I? It is a valid thought. I am not saying that you must walk away from taking a decision. A decision can be taken later too. There is no decision in the world that has to happen in that very minute. This approach has always helped me in such situations off late “I hear you, point well take but I would rather decide on this once our thoughts have cooled off. So let me call you later in the day.”

Arguments are two or many people, voicing out their own views / perspectives, with an intense need to be agreed upon, it is not even about being right or wrong. In an argument no one is getting into a research to check for the right answer, everyone involved is just sharing their opinions. After having lived 52 years of my life, one of the biggest lessons I carry with me is, you don’t have to give weightage to other people’s opinion.

So, any decisions to be taken, important choices to be made, it should not be done so between an on-going argument. Bottom line, you walking away from an argument, making the other person believe that you heard them is always a win for you.

Do not go with my words here, you have to experience it to believe it and once you do, I bet you that you would bite into this concept and never let go of it.

If ever you want to discuss (not argue) on this, ping me and let us block our calendars for a call. Write to [email protected] or [email protected]

Pivot in Business don’t have to be radical all the time

A business pivot happens when there is a change in strategy due to industry trends, unhappy customers, change of leadership team within the organization or it could be focus on increasing the bottom lines. But it gets really tricky to understand when the pivot needs to happen, how much of a change in strategy should be implemented and how. What does it require of you as the process of pivoting begins? These are some of the questions that have always made me edgy when it comes to decision making related to a pivot in business.

It also took me a long time to forgive myself as I could not adopt to a pivot in my previous venture, even when the challenges were on my face and my wait did become one of the reasons for its failure.

It takes a lot for a leader to make a choice to change business strategy(ies) knowing that it can go either way, leading their business towards growth or failure. We tend to wait out the challenges with an hope that it would pass, but most often it does not.

When do we Pivot?

  • Something you are offering, just does not seem to fit. Your customers keep coming back with rejection for your one product feature / service offered.
  • Your assumptions on how your Target Group would react to your offering did not match. Businesses are run by humans, not machines & humans can be wrong.
  • The numbers don’t seem to stack up. Various GTMs seem to fail. The sale closures, user acquisition just does not come through as per expectations
  • You need more or something different. As leaders, we evolve along with the business. The values change, the goals change & it is absolutely important to align the strategies accordingly.

How do we Pivot?

  • Identify the Need – This stage is mostly like the initial phase of starting out to understand your markets, identify the TG and the gap that exists. The difference now is that you use the data that you have collected within your business from your customers you catered to while you were running the business. You run the analysis of understanding the present market trends, your offerings vs your target group needs to identify the right change that you would want to bring about.
  • Design the New Offering – You now have understood the gap that exists, you are clear with what you want from your product / service. It is now that you head back to the drawing board to design your offering that fits the needs & hopefully brings the result that you desire
  • Test the Market – Just because you have been running a business does not mean, your new approach will be 100% hit. You have to run a quick market test. See how soon the first few customer acquisition happens, how easy was it to close the sale, was the price negotiated, was acceptance easy and how is the feedback
  • Get a PoA – With your test run done and your results to that market testing with you, it is now time to put down a Plan of Action. Projections on what can go to become your game plan on this new approach. The best case scenario & the worst case scenario in place.
  • Getting started with Execution – This is when a PIVOT is set to roll out. Get on with the execution of the plan. This phase requires you to give your full for the changed approach without fears, doubts or questions.

Focus on what works, as you follow the above process. Inform & surely involve your team / stake holders from the first step mentioned above. Prepare yourself if needed be, get trained, sign up for more courses, meet the experts. Be fast on your decisions. Sitting on thoughts to decide on things will only make it harder for you as the leader. Last but not the least, be comfortable with change. You as the leader will have to build the values & culture in your business & it all begins & ends with you.

If you want to speak more on this, write to [email protected] or [email protected] & do not forget to like, share & post a comment with your thoughts.

Are you really ready for what is ahead of you?

If you are a business leader, who keeps her/his ears on the ground all the time, then you surely are feeling the tremors of what is about to come. The occasional cold winds (disappointments) hitting on us when the sale pitch keeps ending in a no-go. The regular buzz from your account department rings an alarm that the food storage (financial kitty) is not enough and when your village (team) keep coming back to you with failed outcomes while looking for potential leads. You know that winter, one of the worst winters are ahead of you as a business.

We read the news, we hear the chatter, we join the gossip but why do we not see the signs within our own set up. Because if we do, as the leaders we are, we should at this point of time, be working on the choices that you will take NOW, the decisions that will ensure you do not loose your best, you do not fail your own & you surely do not have to pull the shutters down.

I speak here along with thoughts and of some other leaders I have been chatting up with recently and we all have started taking some of these steps that I write here. But it was not easy to begin. When we read that Mark Elliot Zuckerberg informed his employees that he is upping the game when it comes to performance just to survive the coming slowdown with the right people, we knew & we bitched about him. We said “he can afford to do that, because of what he has built as a business, people will fight to be there, even his best. But, can we do the same thing? If we push our people, the best of our best will rather choose to take the door than fight to remain” so it means, what you do now as choices & decisions will mean “make or break” for you as a business. I repeat, for YOUR business. You have to look deep within your systems and take strategically smart choices. Choices that will last this super challenging times that are coming straight at us.

I would love to jump in to mention the things that you can do to get prepared but I would rather first give you some signals that you can look out for. (Note that there could be many different and other signs than the ones I mention here)

  1. The first signs are when almost all of your sale pitches ends with the lead stating that they need something like your offering but cannot afford it at this point.
  2. When your Target Group seems to be shrinking and at a speed that every week, your “go to market” strategies feels like failed efforts.
  3. When your monies in the kitty seems to keep hitting the reserves or even below
  4. When the bills pile seems higher than the expected income
  5. When your team seems to start loosing the fire in them to keep pushing (reason could be that their efforts are not showing results at work or that their own financial conditions at personal level is getting tough)
  6. Your gut seems to never be confident on status of affairs at work. For every leader, there is an inner built mechanism called the “gut” that sends alert signals for the danger that is about to come and it is happening on a very regular basis for you

It is now time to sit up straight, get your “seeing the hard truth” kinda glasses on, buckle your belt tight enough to hold you in that position & get started. Remember, this act of yours & doing it now, will actually save your much more than you can imagine. You will realise the same when you find yourself sitting within your operational business even after we have passed through this slowdown. Its your choice, today, you are on a crossroad where on one side is a road that you would have your business running (a little badgered and bruised, but still alive and kicking) or the other road will take you where you would be on your living room couch (ready to pen down the lessons you learnt as you pulled your shutters down on your business). The choice is yours, my job is to make this noise and try to be heard.

We passed through a pandemic, the customer needs flipped overnight, we assume that if we could survive a pandemic, we could survive anything. We are way away from the truth. Pandemic was something that hit us all in the same manner, a slowdown is a monster that will eat us from within us. To make you understand, our decisions and the time we take to decide on things will kill us in different ways. If we don’t hold the best with us during these times, it might kill us. If we work through all this, our weakness or a habit of not being able to work through dry days might very well just kill us. So, let us get the shit together after all.

  1. Always the first thing is to look into is “your offerings”. Look at how much you can re-design your offering (product / service) wherein you can bring your prices down and still have a decent profit margin, not forgetting that the value for our customers is intact or increased if possible
  2. When we have to bring our “cost of offering” that is when you look at multiple things now. Your team salaries, your marketing strategy cost, your operational cost, because all of this is what sums up to your offering’s cost.
  • Salaries – Try not to push your people to perform better in difficult circumstances, rather speak with clarity to them, respecting their own ability to decide & request a salary cut acceptance from their side. Frankly those who accept will be the ones who will fight this time out with you, those who do not will actually be the right ones to let go, coz their fears of tough times will not let them perform in such situations. So, let it be their decision, you be outright clear to them.
  • Marketing – Sit down on your GTMs. Find strategies, those which can be executed in worse case scenarios with least amount of investments (instead of hiring a social media company, hire a resource who knows it within with lesser payouts. instead of running paid campaigns, be more intelligent on and do it organically, instead of traveling to meet potential clients wasting monies & loosing time on travel, push for more calls & online meets, wherein there could be more sale pitches in a day instead)
  • Operations – This is were some of the most difficult decisions have to come in. In operations the highest cost is on the infra-structure. We have in the past been in WFH, we can do this again, but what holds us are these reasons (we just got out of WFH, our clients / investors / team would think we are not capable to manage an office, my team will not be productive) you can go for a 100% wfh or even partial but what you cannot do is let your fears and ego stop you from taking this decision. Further, your deliverable team can be supported with more streamlined processes, more productive approaches to increase their ability to deliver better, faster ensuring that lesser resources are needed to cater to more clients.
  • Mental Health – Your mental health will impact your team’s state of mind and motivation. But, your mental health depends on your safe zones intact. Safe zones are things within our mind that gives us the feeling of security, stability and scalability of our business and also our lives. It is critical that we address these zones immediately to prepare in a manner that will have all the 3Ss intact. Here are few things that can help you do that.

– Parallel Income. Hard hitting but as a leader, there is no shame to be able look at other gigs that you can bring in some monies through, which will not hurt your attention needed for your business plus will keep your security zone intact for your mental health

– Fitness Regime. Stability comes when you are strong enough to take it all. Sylvester Stallone once said, “life is not about how hard of a hit you can give, it is about how many you can take & still keep going” to take all that the coming days is going to bring on to you, you need your physical strength. It has been proven to me and many out there, a fit body means a stronger mind.

– Planning Ahead. There are these things that we keep saying, “one day at time” or “when things get tough, just put one foot ahead of the other, heads down and keep moving forward” its important to understand that all this is true but what is even more real is we do all this, after putting a long term plan in place for your business & yourself for these challenging times. Without your line of sight on what is coming and what you will be doing, walking on day to day basis on this path is preparing yourself to stumble more than ever, get faced by challenges without being prepared to some extent. So, get on with it, the plan would not be very attractive, very interesting but the fact that you have a plan for your progress or scale, even in your worse, is the key.

I have been one of those people, who cannot write if I have not gone through it myself or working on it myself. I am writing a book on fitness, every time I slip my game on my workouts, my writing stops. So, writing this blog at 4 am in the day, is a clear message that I mean it all, we will have to pass through this together and come out of it stronger.

You know it, most of my blogs also end by stating, if you need more of this, write to me on [email protected] or [email protected]

Fallen… Is it over this time?

You have heard people speak about the time they were fallen, speak about what it took to them to recover from a fall, speak about how they flew high after a fall, but rarely do you see people talk about what is going on when “Fallen”

I know why that is not done too, because I am “Fallen” at this point of time & it is like a dying person to speak about how they are feeling at that point. Imagine yourself in your deathbed and then imagine Arnab Goswami with a mic on your dying pale face and screaming at you “the nation wants to know on what is happening within your head right now?, common X… Common, I will not let you die without telling us what we want to know” Can you imagine your state of mind at that very minute.. I am sure you do.. That is exactly how it feels if you have to pen down your true thoughts when you are “Fallen”

So… I chose to write this blog exactly at a point when I can give up or realise that I can recover and find my wings to fly out of this position towards my goals.

I started my weight loss & “Fat to Fit” journey on 6th December 2020, until then I had tried everything under the sky, every support, every kind of coach and trainer and I would move around 5 to 10 kgs down and be back before I know it. This had been going on for almost 3 decades now. So, when Pandemic hit & I was left alone, I decided to take this upon me, that I will not die a “fat old lady” and would at least die a “fit old lady”… Today, almost 10 days away from marking my first year to this journey, I have touched my lowest, like I was this weight when I was in my teens.

I was positioned superbly well, an example for many middle aged woman to not just shed 30 kgs in a year but also shed 15 years off the looks too but then, something happened last week.

First it was a simple “food poisoning” then a week into recover, my periods and add to this was family, friends and people around all this mixed within my head and I see myself clearly off the grid… I see myself falling into a clear bottomless pit that will take me straight where I started or in the process, take me into my grave for good.

Let me first tell you the true experience of being fallen…

  1. You don’t stop eating. There is no thinking towards what you consume. There is no stopping. You are either eating or thinking about what more to eat. You feel full, you don’t care. You feel disgusted, you like that feeling. It is like, you are feeling disgusted and instead of not knowing why, you at least give a reason to your feeling by stuffing your face.
  2. You have a strong valid reason to miss workouts. Your health, your need to sleep, your work anything that keeps you away from the gym. Remember, it is just about telling yourself that you are down not because you did not do your workouts, you are down, because you could not do the workouts. That your work, health or sleep DID NOT ALLOW YOU TO DO YOUR WORKOUTS. That is the comfort space to be in
  3. Every action done by people around you seem to push you deeper into your dark fallen space. If they do something that you did not like, great.. that is so perfect for you at this point, but if they do not, then you think about “how they could or would?” and feel equally miserable. This is like a cherry on the cake for you to stay fallen. It is not even your fault that you are where you are, it is the people or the challenges around you, keeping you in this fallen state.

Yeah, the above 3 things can take you to a place of no return. I am exactly there. It has been almost 10 days since I have done my routine workouts, diet & meditation. It feels like I am done. It feels like, this time, I would not find my wings. It feels like it is all over

Designing your Death

Woke up to a news of a friend / business associate’s demise. He was in an auto traveling to the railway station to catch a train for a training session with students at a university. Had known him for almost 10 years now, he must have been in his late 60s. Few weeks back, I had got the news of a young friend in her late 20s pass away, had known her very closely for around 2 years but those couple of years left a life time impact to my heart. It took me a solid week to get my head straight again.

Today morning, with the news, I lay still in my bed, staring at the ceiling fan going round in circles in a pace that’s fixed with no start or finish. I am in my early 50s, something changes within us once you have crossed over to your 50s and above. You see life and death differently at this point.

For starters, what you had seen life as all these years seems of no use. You start to reckon your past as much as you can to influence the moment you are in. This is even more if you are living alone. You start reading into bits and pieces of the journey you have had that has got you to the moment you are in and on days when you hear a news of someone you have had a part of your journey with has moved on to the beyond, you start to re-collect the moments you have had with them, trying to give a meaning to everything you shared with them. Trying to make sure that your journey has more meaning to it. Trying to find a reason behind why you remain here and they don’t. Then comes the million dollar question, “Will I end in a similar manner?” This one question can make you re-think a lot of things that you are doing in the moment. At my age and my personality of getting after things, I start to implement those things that needs to change to align with the answer that I got for the way I want to be leaving my physical state from this world.

The fan never stops moving…

But, we can STOP. We cannot be those who have to keep moving till the very end. My father died working from the ICU, my friend today died in a rick trying to get to work. We need to stop. Stop to breathe in what is around us. We need to feel the life that we still have. So what if we earn a few bucks less, so what we leave few dreams incomplete, so what if we have unfinished responsibilities, so what if we fear for our loved ones, so what??? SO WHAT?? anyway, non of that is going to matter, when we are gone. Non of this is of any use, non of this will be taken along with us, non of the loved ones will tag along. NON OF THIS IS COMING ALONG…

So, stop… just stop and look around. run your life backwards. Lets design our end and work towards what it takes to make that happen. Let us work towards something we are sure to receive. Our Death… Let us welcome it in the exact form we want it in after all. Death is the only constant in our existence so why not plan it to its every detail and work our lives backwards to the moment we are in.

I plan to design my death in a form that I desire it to be in. Blogging on this to me means like me penning down my death just like how I would pen down my dreams for my personal and professional milestones.

So, here is how I wish for my “the end”:

  • I wish to see my loved ones around me
  • I wish to have impacted some people’s life for the better
  • I wish to be self sufficient in every way
  • I wish to have built the broken bridges with people until then
  • I wish to not have fear during my last breath but a farewell smile
  • I wish to die a healthy woman
  • I wish to donate every bit of me after I am gone, like the skin, eyes, organs, every bit
  • I wish to have a farewell gathering in my memory on the Marriott Goa Beach with Yellow & White roses theme
  • I wish everyone who knew me close enough to be there & share their good and bad memories of me but do it with an authentic self, coz that is who I am, an authentic person
  • I wish to walk away towards the light and open myself to everything that the beyond has to offer me

Death designed is not a sad or a negative thing to do. It is the most beautiful way to bid goodbye to a life lived. I know I am going to face those shocking looks when I walk into Marriott and do the payment for my post death gathering. I truly see my children loosing their shit on me for doing such things or writing about it or even thinking about it. I can imagine my friends thinking that I am giving up on life.

The fact is, I am not. I am making my life a total 100% till its very last. I am making the fan stop. I am looking at what this whole life in full, till its end going to be. I get the fact that whatever we plan, the reality could be different, but it is absolutely okay. As long as I do my bit and do a fair job of it, the rest is up to the universe to make it happen for me, my way…

Poor people take poor decisions

Not being poor is not a choice but your birth right. It took a lot out of my life for me to realise this but oh man, am I glad I do see this now.

Let us first figure out what is being poor? I have been poor, in fact, I have been poor all my life until now. Poor is not, not having monies. Poor is not having monies to take care of your very basic needs of life. Needs such as Food, Shelter & Health. That is it. When you have got your expenses for these three things figured out, month on month basis, you are no more poor.

So, when I state that I was poor all my life, I mean it in its true sense. I had not figured out the income for my 3 basic needs. It was dependent on multiple things around me. It started with my parent’s financial condition, then my husband’s income, then when I started my own firm, it depended on my startup’s success and there you go, there was never a point in my life that I was not poor. I would have lakhs of monies move across my accounts, I had monies but that was not taking care of my needs and with my needs not taken care, I was poor and so being poor is well understood by me and I can also tell you with complete confidence that I have taken poor decisions all these years due to my state of poverty.

Have you ever thought, why we work hard to get things that we do not actually need? Like, continue doing a job we so hate, like start a business and not take the basic salary for ourselves. By doing this, we end up taking all bad decisions in life that will further take us deeper in shit and this never stops. You will be the lucky few like me if you have already stopped or would now stop this vicious circle of remaining in poverty.

So, why do I think that poor people take poor decisions. We do… We get into debts, we then borrow more to cover our existing debts, we get into drinking, eating unhealthy stuff, not exercising, not working hard but getting worked up. We do not speak our mind out. This further pushes us towards taking decisions that are sure damaging for us and for the people we are dealing with. We have all done this at some point of time.

When my previous startup failed, it brought me down on my face completely, I was left with nothing on me, not a penny, not a piece of me wanted to be alive, leave alone move on. I am sure many many of you out here would have also experienced the same with the pandemic. Many of you have lost your jobs, your business, your loved ones, your homes, your everything and you were left with nothing left in you. I feel you in ways you cannot imagine and I do because I am one of you too.

So, here I am writing this and that is the proof that I did not give up, I did not die and the fact that you are reading this is a proof that you did not too. As I picked my broken pieces and moved ahead, I wanted to get this right this time and that was when I asked myself the million dollar question.

What is it that I ACTUALLY NEED?

That is when I started putting in place a source of income for my health, shelter (home) & food. Once this was taken care, I did not feel I was poor. The moment I was not poor, my decisions were no more poor too. I started looking at every challenge that came at me with clarity and my sane mind space. Once that started to happen, every thing solved itself, worked itself out and I was riding the waves of life with a clear line of sight. I now know that the decisions I take are coming from reasoning that does not have me desperate or emotional.

So, let us all chose to be not poor. Put your basics in place and your basics are just the three things that I mentioned and then let us start living our lives the way we are meant to live. Finally, like all my blogs, I end with some give-aways, here below is what you will do as soon as you are no more poor.

  • You will speak your mind out clearly
  • You will be healthy, happy & rooted within you
  • You will know when to draw the line with things and people
  • You will live in the moment
  • You will love yourself

40 to 200 in 6 months

“We live in a world where there is more and more of information, and less and less meaning to it” ~ Jean Baudrillard

Exactly 6 months back, on this day, at 8:00 am I dragged myself out of bed, in my flat that I live by myself & stood in front of my mirror. I just stood looking at myself. The next 30 seconds, I dropped my night gown and I continued to stare down at myself in my birth suit, in its true self, no filters, no special applications that can shape my curves and definitely no one around who would give those socially correct statements such as “beauty is skin deep”, “there is nothing in the looks”, “you have a beautiful heart”… there were no voices, no comments, no likes and no heart emojis floating around.

The only voice I heard was of myself in my head, the only image I could see was my fat, flabby body, my tired eyes, hurting knees, high cholesterol & borderline sugar levels in my blood.

So, there was no role model, no masterclass, no coach, no trainer or a training application, no family, no friend, no neighbour neither did any knowledge matter, no social media was any more important, at that point, the only one thing I could hear myself say was;

“I will not die a fat old lady”

I got into my workouts wear, put on my walking shoes, plugged myself with my favourite music and stepped out of my flat and head towards the society gym. No plan, nothing in mind except for that fact that I will not return back to my home for the next 40 mins.

The first 3 months (Dec 2020, Jan 2021 & Feb 2021) I went raw on me. Just like one of the superheroes states in one of the marvel movies ~ “the plan is that there is no plan”

I was my only hope, guide, critic, inspiration and kick on the ass person for myself. I ensured I took zero advice from anyone or any source. I worked out for 40 mins, ate only 25% of what I would usually eat, cut out sweets, junk food & rice from my meals & did not have anything, not even a fruit after 6:30 pm. That is all I did for the first 3 months.

I was 8.3 kgs down after the first 3 months, by now, I was flooded with compliments by family, friends & netizens across platforms (thanks to my selfie addict posts) but the key was for me to keep my head on my shoulder and not get carried away with all this. 15 days after me starting out, my partner / friend decided to also start working out, Vivek is high-information consumer guy, so he worked out with a nike application, he ensured he measured his steps, he knew his shit. I was going with nothing but just my gut instincts, with just one intention that I had promised myself that I would not die a fat old lady.

But I was at a point where I have been in the past and it was not very difficult for me to let go, to give up and start heading back to my old unhealthy lifestyle. So, I knew that I had to do something that make me continue on this path and also make my body get that additional push to burn more fat and consume the stored calories in the right way. Now my last 3 months plan can hit back at me like it had done so many times in the past. So, I did the pivot.

Starting March 6th 2021 to June 6th 2021 (today) I added some basic tools to my day to day life. Things that were taught to me by my father, by my grandmother and my school teacher. I took no information from this present “information overload” virtual world that we live in. Sorry, this new world of paid media, irresponsible netizens who just seem to either vent out anger or vengeance, market their services / applications by stating all glorious pitches. I was not going to bite into any of it.

My father would always say, “keep it simple” – So, I kept it all simple… I started my intermittent fasting, but to give me reminders, I took the first application that I came across with basic information on intermittent fasting “BodyFast” and started fasting for 16 hours fasting / day. Today I do a 22-2 OMD plan, that is 22 hours fasting / day with just “one meal a day” plan. It is for the advanced people, who have got their bodies used to fasting.

My good old lady, my granny would also say, “walk to school lady, do not be a lazy girl” I started walking 15 kms, daily (25k steps & 3 hours). Along with these walks, I just stretch my muscles, my face / neck muscles, my sides, legs & arms. A 20 mins stretching regime

Finally, my 6th Std teacher who had a sweet innocent crush on my father, loved me and would always tell me – “Salma, you need to look up to the rising sun every morning and let the pure morning energy run through your mind, heart & soul” It took me literally 4 decades to really follow what she would say to me every time I would fuss about not getting any subject right. So, I started 10 mins of opening myself to the morning Sun. Yes, I face the sunrise from my society lawns, open my arms with palms facing the sunrise, close my eyes and just take it all in. Breathe in through my nose & breathe out through my mouth. Take in everything pure, bright, warm and healthy and give out all that is difficult, sad, ugly, worrying or unhealthy out of me.

Today I am 14.5 kgs lower then what I started 6 months back. I do 200 minutes of my morning routine, I have one meal a day, I drink 3 litres of water, I am happy, peaceful and lighter on my feet.

Today by the day end, I will have my next milestone. I plan to put two plans in place.

  1. For my 51st birthday I plan to reach 75 kgs, that is shedding 5.5 kgs in 45 days (totally doable)
  2. The next 3 months plan to be 68 kgs… Wowwww… looks like a dream come true after all…

So, all I have to tell you is… Do not follow my way, do not try something that you do not believe in it yourself.