0

Anu Krishna : Cracking the Code to Living a Happy AND Meaningful Life

3.45 am January 29 2017. An early 40s woman and a mother of two teenagers wake up to get ready for her 1st Marathon for the year. Marathon done with great joy and timing. After all, it was for a cause as well. The Famous Pinkathon in India. At 2 pm she is at a college conducting an energizing workshop for the youth on ‘The Day I Decided to be a Leader’. Meet Anu Krishna the woman who has cracked the code on how to live a happy AND meaningful life!

Anu Krishna-Profile Pic

I had a chance to have a long conversation to understand her secret to living a life with happiness and meaningfulness*. I started by asking how she managed to attend both the marathon and the workshop on the same day. A week before the event, Anu was wondering whether she could really make it. And she thought how can I do ‘this’ as well as ‘that’. She checked with the college whether she can conduct the workshop in the afternoon instead of morning and they were more than happy to reschedule it! What is interesting about Anu’s life is that this is just one of the many instances in her life where happiness and meaningfulness found its match on the same day!

 

I have always wondered whether a person’s daily habits, rituals and the way they manage it have a direct correlation to their happiness and purpose. To test my hypothesis, I asked Anu on her daily habits and rituals. Here it goes:

Copy of Anu's Daily Habits

I could sense that each and every task that Anu takes up in a day is ‘not’ a task for her. If we were to imagine the task as a jar, Anu’s task jar will be filled with equal portions of giving, love, living in the moment, passion and purpose.

 

To connect the dots, I asked Anu to take me through her time machine. At age 4, she started to learn Carnatic music and continued to learn for 10 years! Around the same time, her Grandpa introduced her to the world of English by narrating stories from the books of PG Wodehouse, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens and others. She could still recollect some of the lines from Anna Karenina, written by her favorite author Leo Tolstoy! Few words Grandpa embedded in her brain were ‘Goodness’ and ‘ Imagination’ by reading happy or nice parts in the story and leaving out the darker sides of the story because he knew that she will be able to read it later on and grasp it better. As far as ‘ Imagination’ goes, she always used to play with words and imagine characters while Grandpa was narrating stories to her. Her Grandpa has played a huge role in finding her passion for English and has been a guiding force throughout her life and career. The liberal arts streams of English and Music have laid a solid foundation for what she wanted to do later in life.

 

Anu says her true calling as a Life Coach happened when, “ Many years ago, I had some life altering moments and lost few loved ones. Suddenly, I felt as though I have lost my own identity. Being a very private person, I decided to deal with my emotions and feelings by turning to philosophy. Luckily I also had a great family support who are very spiritual and I could lean on them. During that phase, surprisingly I did not get into depression. While going through this life transition, it became clear to me that if I was going through a powerful transition in my life, others too would be going through at some point in their lives and how would they be dealing with it. During this time I was introduced to Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP by someone close to us. I started reading and applying NLP on myself. Gradually, I could sense my own transformation and my loved ones also started noticing it. My calling became stronger and I was convinced that I am here to help people create the life that they want. I immediately enrolled for the NLP course to become a full-time Life Coach”.

 

Anu’s passion for words led her to found Word Weave. Within a short span of time, her authentic approach to coaching and the ‘no timer’ concept has helped her win many clients and impact hundreds of children, youth, and adults. Anu believes and practices the mantra of ‘ Life is all about having fun’! This has become quite infectious among her clients, friends, and family.

 

Anu finds that working with women and children have given her tremendous satisfaction. Her pet projects are ‘Re-creating Self-Identity’ for individuals based on her own experiences in life and ‘Creative Expressions’ project for Children evolved out of her passion as a Writer. A new project she has recently launched is called ‘ Heart to Heart’ Project wherein anyone can call her anonymously for a short period and pour their heart out.

 

Anu’s passion for words has translated into articles for print and online journals. She has won awards for her short stories. By integrating her Passion for words and the Purpose to help people create the life they want she has embarked on a book project focused on integrating NLP in everyone’s lives. The main objective of the book is to offer perspectives through short stories and improve the quality of thinking thereby breaking the patterns of not so useful thoughts leading to better actions and a wholesome life.

While her Grandpa’s influence helped her find her imagination and passion for English, Anu says her purpose of serving people came from ‘ My Parents raised me with values that translated into always helping anyone in need’.

 

The remarkable transformation of Anu in two decades [ the 20s to 40s] is very inspiring and motivating for all of us. From a shy to a homely to a confident and successful woman leading a Happy AND Meaningful Life!

 

*Reference: An article by Scott Barry Kaufman in Scientific American on the subject of The differences between happiness and meaning in life indicates that optimal well-being consists of both happiness and meaning in our lives. The article quotes another research study on this: “Years of research on the psychology of well-being have demonstrated that often human beings are happiest when they are engaged in meaningful pursuits and virtuous activities.”


 

This post was first published in Huffington Post

0

Life & Money has been voted as Top 50 Financial Planning Blogs in the World!

top-50-financial-planning-blogs-high-resLast weekend, I received a personal email from Anuj Agarwal, co-founder of FeedSpot that we have been awarded as Top 50 Financial Planning Blog posts in the World. I was naturally curious and clicked the link to open the winners list. I was shocked and surprised to find that we have been included along with some of my awesome peers in the financial planning space : Michael Kitces [one of our Advisory Board Members!], Sophia Bera, Joshua Brown, Barry Ritholtz and many others. Thank you Feedspot for recognizing our contribution to the financial planning world!

For those who are not aware of what Feedspot is all about, Feedspot is a modern RSS reader. You can read all your favorite blogs in one place and discover new good ones across categories and segments.

It is very gratifying to know that within a short span of 3 years we have achieved this recognition. At Life & Money, from day one, we decided to focus on providing holistic, simple, relevant and consistent content in the realm of Life and Money to our target segment [440 Million Millennials of India]. Towards this, we chose the strategy of ‘curating content’ for our blogs and other social media platforms that will resonate with our target segment and motivate them to lead a healthy, wealthy and happy life. I am really happy that you as readers enjoy our content and continue to visit us regularly! Thank you! A big shout out and gratitude to all our readers for influencing Feedspot to vote us for this award!

I am also thankful and grateful to my colleague Heeshma for her awesome work in creating and nurturing our blogs and our other social media platforms. This award is a true recognition for her outstanding work!! You are the best!! Apart from our in-house bloggers, I will like to thank our regular contributors to our blog without which we wouldn’t have won this award! A big shout out and gratitude to Richard Kahler, Carl RichardsBrittney Castro, Sophia Bera, Amy Jo Lauber, Kali Hawk, Stephen Demary, and Meeta Singh. And a big shout out and gratitude to my co-founder, cfo and partner Prajakta who has been extremely supportive and continue to play a huge role in nurturing Life & Money’s vision of empowering millennials to live their dreams and lead a healthy, wealthy and happy life.

And last but not the least, this award would not have happened without the constant guidance, nurturing and advice by our awesome Advisory Board Members – Sheryl Garrett, Michael Kitces and Holly Buchanan. Thank you so much for always being there! We are always thankful and grateful for your generosity and unconditional support!

0

Empowering Young Rural Women on Financial Wellness

dsc06027
Workshop at Tumkur (Image Copyright: Life & Money)

On the eve of the International Women’s Day, March 08, 2016,  we successfully completed our first ever crowd-funded Women’s Project focused on ‘Financial Wellness for Young Women in Semi-Rural Region’. We so much enjoyed planning, designing and executing the project. This project is very close to our hearts and is one of the most satisfying and gratifying moments in our life.

Background

Life & Money  primarily focuses on conducting holistic financial and wellness programs through onsite workshops by empowering participants to live their dreams and lead a healthy, wealthy and happy life. The workshops are designed to help participants understand the role of financial wellness in their lives, build smart money management techniques and develop basic personal financial planning skills.  Over the last few years, we have conducted over 60 workshop sessions across corporate, colleges and direct to customers reaching out to around 2000 people across India.

The Women’s Project

The idea for reaching out to young women exclusively in rural areas took shape while discussing our goals and action plan in January 2015 for the financial year 2015-16 .  We wanted to launch a pilot project in one semi-rural area and if the project outcome is favorable we can  expand  to reach out to more young women across India soon. We decided to raise funds for the project through a crowdfunding platform. We raised enough money to reach out to 500 women in Tumkur District, Karnataka.

The profile of the women who attended our programs are students from the final year of the undergraduate program from 7 different colleges in Tumkur District, whose parent/s are farmers with marginal land, self-employed or employed with most of the families earning average income of Rs. 2-3 lakhs per annum. I heard some of the women travel by bus for more than 4-5 hours every day [home to college and back]! What a determination to succeed in life!

We began the first session of our workshop on 20th January 2016 and completed it on March 05, 2016 through two phases. The participation from students was electrifying! I have never ever seen so much of eagerness and hunger to learn, focus, wisdom, integrity and caring for others. I must say the best of the workshops are the ones we did for these wonderful women!

I will like to share few inspiring stories to highlight how our program impacted the participants and us!

Rupali’s Story

During our first workshop,  within minutes of beginning of the session, one of the participants, Rupali* asked me a set of very interesting questions. Why are we doing this program? Why only women? How will this project help all of us? I liked her curiosity and the hunger to learn the why, how and what [ now made famous by Simon Sinek] of launching a business or project.  I was so glad that she asked this question because this will not only help her but also her batchmates in the workshop. I opened up our crowdfunding website for reference and answered her questions in detail one at a time. Once I finished, she summed it up so beautifully with a spark in her eyes, ‘ Now I know, If I have to launch a  business – be it a product or service, I can choose to raise money through crowdfunding. I need not depend on my parents or husband [ in the future] or even a bank! Wow! It brought me tears of joy that this woman and others ‘get it’.

Saving and Investing for Goals

One of the most important part of our workshop is to guide the participants to draw their personal and financial goals for short term, medium and long term. We then take them through a live interactive collaborative financial planning tool to find out how much they need to save and invest to achieve their goals.

Monali’s Story

During the 3rd workshop session, one of the participants, Monali* mentioned that she wanted to buy a sedan car costing Rs.9 lakh in the next 3 years.  We went through the collaborative financial planning process using the Goal Readiness Tool app and I guided her through few real life scenarios/events  to make informed choices to arrive at few assumptions, expectations of income, expenses, budgeting for the goal, other goals, time horizon, etc. We re-worked the calculations and found out that she can achieve her goal comfortably! Her batchmates were happy too! One thing that Monali was very clear about was that she wanted to save and buy the car! No loans for her! Wow! I became curious and wanted to know more about her career goal too. Monali mentioned that she aims to compete for Indian Police Service [IPS] and become a Police Officer. She is already working hard at it. I asked her ‘ Why’.  She said, “ There is so much injustice to the common man and criminality in the society. I want to play a part in changing the system for better”. I was speechless and at the same time felt happy for her purpose, grit and determination to serve the society better.  We congratulated and cheered her ! And then I said softly, ‘ Monali..The Government of India will anyway provide you with the car once you join as an IPS officer. Will you still need to buy this car? You can probably save the money for some other goal’.  She said, ‘ The car is not for me. It is for my parents. They have sacrificed so much of their lives to bring me up. Till date, they have been going in crowded buses and trains and I know for most part of their journey they would not have got a seat to sit comfortably and reach the destination. I want to give them the comfort and convenience to travel anywhere, feel fresh and better’. I was moved to tears….

Sonali’s Story

On another day, a participant, Sonali* mentioned her desire to save for Retirement Corpus! Without batting an eyelid, she mentioned that she wanted to save Rs. 9 Crores for her retirement!  I thought this was wonderful since we hardly come across young people who are just turning 20 or in their early 20s talk about retirement leave alone saving money for it. And to top it all a huge sum!  As usual we went through the collaborative financial planning process using the Retirement Tool app and I guided her through few real life scenarios/events to make informed choices to arrive at few assumptions, expectations of income, expenses, etc  and within sometime we arrived at a roadmap for achieving her Retirement Corpus.  What I loved about Sonali is her meticulousness to budgeting for her expenses, income forecast, asset purchase price, needs vs wants clarity, goal clarity and debt management. She absolutely stunned all of us with her Retirement Planning Strategy by achieving her Goal! I have never seen a young woman with so much confidence, clarity of thought and purpose in life!

Many participants also wanted to serve the community in the future with purpose by either starting a for profit business or not for profit business.

Language – No Barrier

Another interesting insight from the workshop was that ‘Rural people are no different from Urban people’ when it comes to grasping concepts and framework for learning and application in daily lives. Before beginning our workshops at Tumkur, we reviewed our Curriculum Design.  Our area of concern was ‘ Do we need to change  the curriculum’ for the rural audience? We debated on A.  ‘Will there be a language barrier’ if I speak in English with participants B. Will participants be able to grasp some of the ideas and concepts of financial planning and money management which are explained through few inspiring English videos with American Accent.  Because,  we wanted to make sure that the participants understand our curriculum well and the outcomes are in alignment with their expectations. We arrived at a consensus [ based on certain scientific evidence and studies] that we will not change anything for the project. This was totally against the commonly held beliefs  that we will need to speak the local language and tweak a number of concepts for the rural audience.

Listening with Intent, Wisdom and Insights

Before we played the videos, we requested the participants to listen intently and note down the key points so that we can have a discussion on what were the key insights or pointers that they learnt from the video.  What do you think would have been the response of the participants while watching the video as well the conversations we had after watching the video? Yes! The participants listened to each and every word with intent [ by living in the present moment] and gave amazing insights and pointers as to what they learnt from the video!!! Yes! Language is never a barrier. We all assume that when someone is not able to speak or write a particular language fluently, it will be hard for them to understand the spoken language as well.

I was so amazed to watch these wonderful young women watching with intent and coming up with awesome insights and learning agility [ never come across among urban youth till date]. This truly indicates that the  young people of rural India are eager and hungry to learn, grasp quickly, have greater wisdom [ thanks to less information overload?] and perseverance to create a bright future for themselves and their families. I am so enamoured by the rural population’s potential to change their and their families lives for better and the world. All we need to do is to support them with tools and resources, be a ‘ Choice Architect’ and gently ‘nudge’ them to live their dreams.

Vision 2020 – Financial Wellness for One Million Young Women in Rural India

We are absolutely inspired and motivated to reach out to more rural young women of India from this year onwards! We have been working on some interesting ideas and some incredible plans are on the anvil to reach out and empower a million young women on financial wellness by 2020 in rural India.  If you are a Corporate firm and if this project speaks to you and touches your heart,  we would love to collaborate with you. You can reach out to us at partha@yourlifeandmoney.com.

*Note: Names have been changed for confidentiality purpose

0

5 ways to keep your employees highly engaged

Recently I came across an interesting survey published by EY India on Employee Compensation and Rewards. The infographic highlights the key areas of dissatisfaction of employees.

Employee Compensation and Rewards Infographic (1)

What is interesting is the degree of satisfaction levels among age groups of employees and among men and women.

  • The two segments that were most dissatisfied were the Millennials below 30 years and the 35-45 years age group or the ‘sandwiched’ generation.
  • Unlike men who are satisfied with cash compensation, women expect complete rewards program.
  • “Employees in the 35-45 age group want larger professional roles with more responsibility and hence the corresponding grade. Employees in this segment are in their prime of their life and looking to achieve various milestones as part of their personal goals and possibly have an eye on retirement”.

What can be done to increase the level of employee engagement? A holistic wellness program can be a great way to increase the engagement level of employees.

What constitutes a holistic wellness program? A well designed holistic wellness program that focuses on 5 key aspects of employees lives:

  1. Physical
  2. Emotional
  3. Mental
  4. Spiritual
  5. Financial

Employers need to be mindful of the fact that each of these aspects plays a crucial role in keeping employees either engaged or disengaged at work. Few years ago Harvard Business Review conducted a study with The Energy Project Team and came up with interesting insights on how engaged or disengaged the employees were at work. Of course, the study doesn’t focus on the ‘Financial’ aspect which I believe is equally important in the Indian context, since majority of the population lives under $ 2 Dollars a day, whereas the middle class is saddled with complex financial and life situations and are still catching up on the standard of living of the western citizens and some east asian nations.

Employees Identify their Unmet Needs

As you can see, any employer can offer a holistic wellness program. I believe a good start could be a well designed holistic financial wellness program because the program weaves the other 4 core elements of the wellness program and connects deeply the financial aspects of employees.

Life & Money offers India’s first well designed holistic financial wellness program aimed at increasing the engagement levels of employees at work. To know more about our program and how it works visit our website: www.yourlifeandmoney.com

 

0

The Secret to a Good Life!

person-864804_1280.jpg
It is that time of the year again! Bring on the Reflections Hat..Yeah! So, How did your year go?

Did you have a Good Life in 2015? Wait a second..How does one define a Good Life?

Here is a small quiz for you. You have to answer one of them to define the Secret to Good Life.

  1. Having more Money
  2. Being Famous
  3. Relationships with friends and family

Most of us would have answered the first two. That is okay. You are not alone. But it turns out that it is the relationships with friends and family that matters and it is the secret to a ‘Good Life’. Don’t believe it? Okay.. Here is the proof. According to Harvard School’s ‘Study of Adult Development’ conducted over a period of 75 years [probably the longest ever study], it emerges that ‘Good Relationships keep us healthier and happier’. Period. Most important, it is the ‘quality’ of relationships that matters most for us to lead a ‘Good Life’. Do watch this awesome TED Talk by Robert Waldinger for more insights on how to lead a healthy and happy life.

My New Year Resolution is to ‘Have a Good Life’! What about yours?

P.S. : This blog is inspired by the New Year Greeting mail I received from Sanjay Kulkarni, the author of The Value Elephant

0

How to achieve focus in our life and be brilliant every single day

FocusDid you know that human beings, on an average, generate 64,000 thoughts per day?  No wonder we are not able to focus and be brilliant every single day.

When we think of focus, what comes to our mind immediately is the achievements of top sports performers. So, what could be the average thoughts generated by sports people  like Saina Nehwal, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt, Roger Federer and others? They generate 18,000 thoughts on an average per day!

All of us want to focus and perform well in our lives every single day. What is the secret behind Focus?  It can be summed up in one single word – ‘Now’! Yes! Neither the past nor the future. We constantly worry about our future or crank up the memories of our past.

One way to overcome distraction and reduce the number of thoughts is to practice 3 things in our life every day.  When my Life Coach Vaishnavi Viswanathan suggested few techniques to help me focus better, I thought it might be nice to try it out.  By developing these habits every day, I am now  able to focus better and be brilliant almost every single day despite the many challenges life throws at us every day!

  1. ‘Meditation’. Even a 5 to 10 minute meditation has an awesome impact in our life every day. I have been practicing ‘Guided Meditation’ [www.smilingmind.com/au] since the beginning of this year and it has had a positive impact on me. The benefits have been immense.  I am more focused, more energetic and able to take better decisions throughout the day.
  2. Read Less. Yes! For a voracious reader like me, the mantra of reading less was initially tough.  I found it amusing. But later, when I started implementing it, I could see a difference in my life. I had less distraction, better sleep time and got more creative and original in my thinking.
  3. Do Less. Focus on few key things in our professional and personal lives. By prioritizing on few tasks for day, I am now more focused, peaceful and contented. Because these tasks/action plans are in alignment with my short, medium and long term goals.

Overall, my experience has been a wonderful one and my stress levels are far less now. I feel much better and at peace most of the days.  I am really thankful and grateful to my coach Vaishnavi for introducing these awesome habits in my life.

To know more, I would urge you to watch the wonderful TED Talk by Dr Alan Watkins on ‘How to be brilliant every single day.’

So, what techniques do you use to Focus better and be brilliant every single day?


(This post was first published on Partha’s website.)

 

0

Women Empowerment and Financial Freedom

2015-09-19-1442656458-6482144-womenindia.jpg

“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.” – Kofi Annan

Few months ago, I had conducted an exclusive workshop for women on Life & Money at Bangalore, India. I learnt much more conducting the workshop than the participants probably learnt from my facilitation of the workshop. I vividly recall one of the participant’s story about how she learnt money management early on in her life.

Janani is an amazing woman who in her 60s wants to start a new life. In her earlier avatar, she got married early, ran a paying guest accommodation facility for single women in early 1980s [aka AirBnb earlier version] on wards and scaled up the business successfully and profitably across multiple locations and sold it after few decades! I believe her motive behind running the business was that even though her husband was earning reasonably well, had some farm land marked as inheritance, took care of the household expenses and funded children’s education goals reasonably well; her aspirations were different. Since she did not get educated beyond an undergraduate degree, she wanted to educate her children abroad and ensure that they had better lives and standard of living. With her earnings from business she could send her two children abroad for higher studies and she was able to fulfil their dreams as well as her aspiration to empower her children with better living standards. During the course of running the business she learnt how to manage money and invest better to raise funds for her children’s goals. What an amazing story! Isn’t it? I asked her if she has done so well till now, what is the curiosity in her that brought her to the workshop. She said I want to now embark on my second innings as children are away and I have lots of spare time. I want to be productive and efficient. I am looking for opportunities and ideas to incubate and scale it! I thought this workshop will give me some directions!! Wow!! Here is a woman who moved out of the comfort zone of being a traditional young home maker in the 1970s and 1980s and became a successful business woman with purpose and also achieved financial freedom and independence! We need more Jananis in India!

After all, financial wellness for women plays a very critical role in the development of society and as Kofi Annan says, there is no better tool for development than the empowerment of women. We believe all the more that more and more projects should focus a lot in rural areas across the world so that more women are empowered and they in turn can offer better futures for their children and family.

The workshop made us go back to the drawing board again. What if we can empower hundreds and thousands of women and provide a platform to gain financial freedom. We decided to kick start our ‘Financial Wellness’ project of reaching out to more Millennial women [with India’s half the population is less than 35 years old] exclusively in rural areas of India from this year onwards rather than in 2017. If you will like to know more about our project you could visit us athttp://igg.me/at/womenfinancialwellness/x/5120232.

As they say, ‘If we empower a woman, the whole village is empowered.’

 

(This post was first published on The Huffington Post.)

1

How Can We Empower the Millennials to Live their Dreams

‘You have to dream before your dreams can come true’ – Abdul Kalam

I live in India where more than half the population is below 35 years or what we call universally as ‘Millennials’ or Gen Y generation. In number terms it translates to over 500 million! In the U.S., it is 86 million or 27% of the population!

We work with Millennials through our ‘Life & Money’ workshops across corporations, colleges, and consumers. Our experiences and insights through hundreds of interactions with Millennials in India indicate that Millennials dream about a) becoming an Entrepreneur soon b) frequent travels for pleasure and gain experiences in life c) identify close friends as their family. Millennials typically spend an average of 24% of their income on travel. Families in India are increasingly experiencing the ‘generation gap’ syndrome. Millennials share a lot more with their friends than with their families. We also find that more and more Millennials want to become entrepreneurs soon. Because they soon get disillusioned with the corporations for various reasons ranging from being a mere number to lack of freedom, recognition and flexibility at the workplace. These insights on what Millennials dream about in India are surprisingly similar to the survey conducted in U.S. by Mass Mutual’s third biennial study The 2013 State of the American Family.

What role should we as parents, educational institutions and corporations play to empower the Millennials to live their dreams? According to Dr. Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade: Why your Twenties matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now, “One good conversation, One Good Break. One Good Ted Talk can have an enormous effect across years and even generations to come.”

As parents, it is important to being a close friend early on in our children’s lives. As parents, we will need to ‘listen’ rather than talk. We need to have conversations regularly that are open, not critical which will help build the trust factor and deepen the relationships. Research in human developmental growth indicates that significant growth occur when children are below 5 years, in their adolescent periods and finally during their adulthood that extends to until late 20s. Parents play a major role in impacting their children’s lives and their attitude towards life. As a matter of fact, financial decisions from our adulthood to latter part of our lives are largely influenced by what is taught to us implicitly or explicitly during the first 10 years of our lives.

As educational institutions it is important to integrate the ‘Life Skills’ Curriculum along with the main curriculum. My recent experience in one of the colleges with a group of 60 students validates Dr Meg Jay’s ‘One Good Conversation’ impact. Yes! Some of the students at the end of our interactive conversations on ‘Life & Money’ found clarity in what they want to do in their lives and how to achieve it.

As employers, it is important to integrate ‘Wellness Benefits’ that are holistic which will help the Millennials to be engaged and energized at the workplace. The benefits should go beyond the ‘creature comforts.’ Our insights on conducting Life & Money workshops for hundreds of employees at the workplace indicates that Millennials do want to contribute meaningfully and want to stay for longer time periods in corporations. What does it take for an organization to keep employees engaged and energized? According to Tony Schwartz, Founder of ‘The Energy Project’ whose firm consults organizations on building policies, practices and communities that support a better way of working, “We’re at our best when we move between expanding energy and intermittently renewing our four core energy needs: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. When you’re intent on supplying fuel in each dimension of energy, you’re creating happier people that will affect your organization’s success.”

In my humble opinion, I will like to add one more core energy area focused on increasing ‘Financial Wellness’ of employees. Research indicates a direct correlation between Financial Wellness and the above 4 core areas of our lives. According to Financial Finesse, one of the leading providers of financial education at workplace in U.S., “Financial Wellness is a state of financial well-being where an individual has achieved the following:

a) Minimal Financial Stress

b) A strong financial foundation consisting of little or no debt, an adequate emergency savings fund and living below the means

c) An ongoing plan that puts them on track to reach future financial goals”

I believe that the Millennials will have to be provided a platform that will energize them on all the above core areas of their lives in a more engaging and fun way at their work place. Because of the sheer size of the population of the Millennials in countries like India and US are so huge, corporations that are supportive of these initiatives are bound to benefit immensely with higher productivity and retention rates. According to Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn, “All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA.”

How do you plan to support the Millennials to live their dreams?

 

This blog was originally published in Huff Post by Partha Iyengar. 

0

How I Redefined My Success to Achieve My Life Goals and Create a Happier Life

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. — Steve Jobs

One day on a late evening in March 2014 in Mumbai, I was checking my emails for one last time before going to sleep. There was Marie Forleo’s email with a subject line “Why you should sleep your way to the top!” I was intrigued by the headline and opened the mail! The mail caught my attention with a video interview by Marie with Ms. Arianna Huffington, the founder of Huffington Post! It was too tempting not to wait till tomorrow morning to watch it. I played it again and again and again. I was so overwhelmed by the conversation between Marie and Arianna. Arianna was narrating her own story of how her life changed one day and how she now redefines “success.” Her story and the latest book based on that life changing event in April 2007 made her re-define what is success and led to the great book Thrive – The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life.

Arianna’s story, insights and wisdom was a defining moment for me and made me question the core aspect of my life; am I leading an authentic life that is in alignment with my professional and personal life?

My defining moment happened one day in December 2013. I went for my regular health check up and the results were shocking. I was detected with Type 2 Diabetes .This was in addition to the portfolio of few existing bunch of illnesses I had acquired over the years. I had overcome those and been managing myself reasonably well by leading a normal life but I did not expect another one to add to my ill-health portfolio! I was going through the report again and again to check whether it was a mistake. Maybe it could be someone else’s report. No, it wasn’t. My world came crashing down. The first few thoughts that ran through my mind was… Oh My Gosh… How am I going to overcome and manage ‘this’ as well now. Am I going to be a big burden to my life partner and become more dependent on her? How will she cope with it? She has already got enough responsibilities on her plate and she has been brave enough to manage it well. On the Professional front, my biggest question was how am I going to build and nurture a firm that I launched in 2009 with great passion and purpose?

I was literally going through the motions of life and extremely depressed for the next three months not knowing how to adapt to this new reality of re-aligning my life style and improve my health. I knew the side effects of diabetes and I was determined to not go through those in the future. This was the time for introspection and I questioned every aspect of my life to find my strength to overcome the new health issues, my true values, priorities and happiness in my life. This was also the time I realized that I was not leading an authentic life at all. And I wasn’t spending enough time with my wonderful life partner. After all, as a Financial Life Planner our fiduciary duty to clients is to help them achieve their personal and financial goals by being their “choice architects,” “life coach” and “family counsel” apart from being the wealth planner and advisor. We are supposed to lead by example to help clients identify and lead a “rich” life. A life with abundance — health, wealth and happiness.

The four months leading up to watching the interview of Arianna Huffington in March, reading her book and another book by author Gary Keller, The One Thing, gave a new meaning to my life and helped me redefine my success. I started implementing many changes in my various aspects of my life. First was my health. Since my first diagnosis of my diabetes I have now brought down my sugar levels considerably through regular exercise, started eating relatively healthy food [ I was addicted to sweets and junk food till I got detected with Diabetes] and better sleep hours. Most important change that I was able to bring about since April is re-prioritizing my goals for my business. With health as the center of focus in my life, I am now able to focus sharply on my goals and priorities and execute it. In April 1st week, we decided to re-work our business goals, plan and few crucial milestones in alignment with my values and the commitment to lead an authentic life. After six months of successful implementation of the strategies, we are on track to achieve our short, medium and long-term goals.

Though my journey in the last six months has been short with full of challenges, it does seem to be a long time for me and I am so glad that things are shaping well. I am glad that I have achieved our first few milestones of success in personal and professional lives. I still have a long way to go but I am confident that I will be able to lead a healthier, happier, and wealthier life consistently. I am grateful to my family, colleagues, health care professionals, advisors, clients, business partners and some awesome friends around the world who have been extremely supportive, encouraging and made it all happen.

And a big thank you to Arianna for the inspiration and motivation to help me redefine my success to achieve my life goals and create a happier life!

 

This blog was originally published in Huff Post by Partha Iyengar.