Wednesday, 7 December 2011

How to take charge of your growth?

To grow, one needs to be a perennial student.

In Indian scriptures, Guru (i.e. teacher) is venerated. One needs to abide by the following principles to be the perfect shishya (i.e. disciple)
1. Questioning - not with the intent of tripping / trapping the teacher, but to gain insight
2. Humility - One can never fill a full cup. One who is puffed with pride of knowledge hardly gains anything. One needs to be open minded and humble while seeking knowledge
3. Service - One needs to be prepared to serve the teacher without any sense of expectation or ego

This is relevant to present times as well. Consider every opportunity, misfortune, acquaintance as your teacher and imbibe. In an Organization setting, while working with a team in a project, consider every opportunity, lost opportunity, team member as your teacher.

  • Questioning the objective, goals, plan etc. should be to gain insight on the project and contribute, rather than tripping other team members or the project. This would help you arrive at deep and thoughtful questions that can help the team and project.
  • When in a discussion, do not demean others' point of view. You have a lot to gain both personally and professionally from various perspectives that people of different culture, gender and age bring.
  • Be prepared to go beyond your day job to extend help and your skills for different aspects of the project, however laborious, boring , or challenging it might be.

With these qualities, it would be hard not to reckon you as a leader, even if by nature of your role you might not be one. When one thinks and acts like a leader, growth is a natural consequence.

I have used the above principles in many situations at work and otherwise and have benefited from it. Though the true intent in those cases has been to learn and be of value to the team, I ended up being the "go to" person and finally promoted to a leader over course of time.

There have been cases where I have not been successful too. On introspection, it seems to me that I have been more successful when my role did not have the "leader" tag attached to it than when it was. This brings me back to where I started. One needs to be a perennial student to grow. One needs to remain a student even when bestowed the role of a Leader, and that is when one can really take charge and get set for boundless growth.


  1. Well-stated, Sai. Thank you. I've spent a good deal of time in leadership and professional coaching sessions and found your analysis quite insightful. It seems to imply a "willingness to change." When one has the courage to consider other points of view while remaining objective about one's own, s/he can both succeed and continue to grow with composure.

  2. Hi Sai,

    I agree with you that the word "Guru" can be translated not just as a person in the traditional sense. We can learn from a child on being more in tune with our natural self to a homeless person on detachment. We can also learn from circumstances in our life journey and experiences both negative and positive.

    If you are interested in blending spiritual practices in the business context we should chat further

  3. Hi,
    Sure. Please send me your thoughts @