Today more than ever the Millennials and Gen Z women irrespective of where they are in the world are confident that they will see Gender Equality in their lifetime, but they feel that the current state is hopeless and not so great. This gap between reality and dream is so large that it is fuelling their passion for change and propelling them to lead the way to break barriers. Everywhere around us, we see these stories. Right from the daughter of the cook who works in a large, branded jewellery story to the next-door neighbour’s daughter-in-law now famous as an influencer and showcasing her easy banter with her mom-in-law to the young girls from non-political families daring to enter the political arena to the lakhs of girls embracing the gift of education to transform their lives.
An interview of the father of a national level football player who comes from extremely modest means, where he says that he decided to bet his limited resources on his daughter after her talent was spotted instead of his son, says it all. Popular pop culture everywhere has transformation and change as a key theme these days. ‘Burning Gold’ by Christina Perri singing about burning like gold and living a fearless life and “Naina – jo saanjh kwaab dekhte the naina,” in Dangal about the dreams of Mahaveer and his daughters are my personal favourites. The transformation has begun and how!
Transformation is a whole different animal from small incremental changes. It is about modifying your core beliefs which then flow into a portfolio of behavioural and process changes and those changes became a natural way of being. When organizations, communities and nations transform, imagine the energy generated by a million souls as they change their core beliefs.
We are seeing the start of the end of the age of traditional stereotyping although I don’t believe we can ever get rid of stereotyping unless we become Human 2.0. Gender fluid clothing, not shying away from hiding various aspects of one’s personality are but some of the recent trends which are not going away anywhere.
What can we do as individuals to embrace growth and the risk of venturing outside one’s comfort zone? How can we identify the transformative change that we can bring about? My top seven learnings:
1. Build allies and have an accountability partner: Whether you are trying to change the world or get permission to pursue your dream of a non-traditional career, either way you need allies to support you and provide you a safety net. You also need an accountability partner to help you keep track of your goals. Only an ally can be invested in helping you accomplish your goals.
2. Have a critic or two on your personal board of directors: I am a huge advocate of the concept of personal board of directors i.e. a board of 5-7 people whom you can have freewheeling conversations on your career and life. My recommendation is to have a couple of critics on that board so that you can challenge your ideas and get fresh perspectives.
3. Be consistent: Don’t get lured by an easy ticket to riches or whatever it is you wish. Consistency is the single biggest determinant for success. It builds self-confidence, generates trust in the mind of others and gives you the discipline and strength to overcome failure.
4. Don’t get bullied: This is easier said than done. Naysayers or well-wishers, bullies come in all forms. From the well-meaning host trying to feed you an extra helping of sweets knowing well you are on a weight loss regime, to the opinion makers creating a hullabaloo, you need to know how to be firm and consistent without being unpleasant.
5. Every goal is good. Don’t compare: Don’t worry if your transformation goal is not to save the world from hunger or climate change. It could be a goal which impacts you or just a smaller circle and that’s fine. You may also change your goal in the process and so long as it is not hurtful to you, that is also good. Getting into a comparison game is a losing proposition.
6. Measure and track progress: Understanding what success looks like and measuring progress vs goals is important to keep the momentum going and take corrective steps if needed.
7. Celebrate the journey not just the end: I will confess that I still belong to the school of thought that we must be conservative in celebrations. I would rather celebrate only when the goal is actually achieved and must add that when that happens, one actually feels numb. The journey is as important as the goal and learning to celebrate the small successes does great wonders for your soul and motivation.
The ancient Greek philosopher ‘Heraclitus’ said famously, “change is the only constant.” 2020 and beyond has shown that in ample measure.
Gear up for the journey. Happy Transformations!
Nimrata Kapoor, Career Coach, http://www.nimtalkingtalent.com