Dealing with perception

A few years ago, I participated in a leadership program and part of the introductions we were required to introduce ourselves following a feedback session on how we went. I remember that when delivered my elevator speech the feedback that was given by my fellow colleagues was that I looked younger and the perception might be that I don’t have enough experience.

This was the first time I came across the power of perception and what it means in term of my career path. Later on, as I progressed and moved into more senior roles I had to deal with perception and find creative ways to influence how people think and operate.

Recently I was privileged to travel again to Bangalore, India and had the opportunity to explore the surrounding and experienced it through the eyes of the local team. Every time I travel to India, I’m discovering a new gem and I know that there is so much more to see. What I have discovered every time that I’ve been here is that people will go above and beyond to make sure you have been looked after. Beside the fascinating sightseeing and the incredible food, I encourage everyone to travel to India at least once in a lifetime.

So next time before forming a perception about somewhere or someone, try to give it a go and really see things for what they real are. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Embedded yourself in local culture

Recently I was privileged to be part of a large project that was landed in India and I have had the opportunity to visit in India a few times.Initially, I knew only a little bit about this country and from a perception about what I’m going to see based on what other people have told me. With some concerns and a lot of excitement I travelled to India for the first time. I was so pleasantly surprised to find out that most of the concerns I have had proved to be wrong.

The colours, the friendly people and the beautiful views made feel culturally connected. It almost felt that I have already been here before. In my last visit I had the opportunity to extend my visit and to explore what Bangalore city has to offer over the weekend. Initially I was recommended to visit the tourist places such as the beautiful palace and the temples which I did but I kept on asking to experience the city as a true Bangalorean.

Luckily for me it was Krishna birthday and I went to the Sri Radha Krishna temple. This was an amazing experience, one that I will be remembering for years. This project, people and journey through the cultural challenges taught me the importance of understanding of the small nuances and local gestures.

A story about Olga

Last weekend we went to the shopping centre to buy a few things and have lunch with the kids. When we finished we returned to the car park and we were ready to go home. As we reached the car a nice elderly woman who looked in distressed requested our assistance as she had some trouble finding her way out of the car park.

A few weeks ago, the shopping centre implemented a new ticket machine system that recognise the car on the way into the centre. This lady was trying to find an actual ticket machine and was circling the centre for more than 20min.

As we saw that she was struggling to find her way out, I offered her to join her car and assist with the parking payment. She accepted my offer and was extremely grateful. On the way out we chatted and she told me that her name is Olga and this was the first time she has experienced such discomfort.

After she dropped me off, my husband that was driving behind us picked me up and we drove back home. On the way back, my kids asked me how come I went into a stranger’s car, as they know this is not acceptable and unsafe.

We explained to them that we saw that this lady was confused and needed someone’s assistance. There are times I find it difficult to explain to them why sometimes we need to deviate from the norm and do things differently. This was definitely one of them.

Reward and recognition

In the last few months I was working on a new overseas initiative that was completely different from any work I have been involved with in the past.

Only few days ago when I was requested to provide a list of all the people that contributed to the successful delivery of the project I realised how many people from all business areas were involved in the execution of this program.

This morning we had a thank you morning tea for everyone involved and I was so proud to stand with the team and reflect on what we have been able to achieve and the great learnings we had along the way.

At the end of the recognition of everyone’s contribution, I received these beautiful flowers and amazing card from our leader. To say that I was humble and grateful will be an understatement. It is amazing what recognition and a simple thanks can do to boost your motivation.

The best part for me was that I didn’t expect anything and throughout the whole project was focused on delivering the milestones and support the project team.

Truly grateful to work in a workplace that appreciate and apprise all team members with their contribution for the greater good.

Thank you to each and everyone who has been a part, I won’t be able to recognise everyone but you know who you are.

Random act of kindness

Today is the Jewish new year, one of the most important celebrations in the Jewish tradition.

This holiday is about celebrating the new year with family and friends and start the year with positive wishes for the year to come. Our family moved to Melbourne many years ago and always this holiday close to my heart as it is all about celebrating with your love ones. Therefore, I decided to celebrate in my home and invite my closest friends and family over.

This morning I went to buy the final few last items that I needed for tonight. As you can imagine, the supermarket was filled with people like me that only came to buy the last thing for their special dinner tonight.

As I was searching through the isles, one lovely lady approached me and asked if I have come across cranberries. As it was just next to me, I passed on a pack and she was very happy and grateful.

After good 45 min, I had everything I needed and I was making my way through to the registers. At that moment, the same lovely lady named Louise, said that she has something to give me when I finish my payment. I wasn’t sure what she meant but she kept her word and waited for me at the entrance of the supermarket. She then said that she was prying to God to meet Jewish people as she was volunteering in a Jewish organisation called Tikkun Olam and she handed out a big hamper with lots of kosher goodies.

To be honest, I was surprised and grateful for this beautiful and unexpected random act of kindness. Sometimes it feels like God gives you signs and I truly believe that today was a sign that a new great year is ahead of us.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my family and friends all over the world Happy New Year and Gmar Chatimah Tova.

My role model

Often I’m asked who is my role model and if I can name a few people that influenced me and shaped my leadership style.

From a very young age, I was raised to stand up for myself and for the things I believe in and have developed a strong personality. Growing with four other siblings and being no. 4 was a great lesson about becoming resilient and determined.

For many years I was asking myself where those attributes came from and the deeper I dug into my soul I noticed that there were some similarities to my Grandma. This amazing woman that wasn’t a career driven person had an amazing story to tell and was one of the most unique people I have ever met. She taught me some of the most valuable lessons in life.

From her I have learnt to respect others and respect myself. She had strong ethics that belongs to another generation with incredible manners.

Her modesty and simplicity was remarkable and sometimes I wish I will be half as good as her.

The big 4-0

Today I’m 40, and I’m celebrating my journey with family and friends.

Firstly I have to say that I am grateful for everything that I have in my life. My husband, kids, extended family and friends and for my career and where I am in my life. It is exactly where I need to be.

Today is a good day to reflect, where I came from to where I am today. Looking at my past, present and future and acknowledged that I went through a lot of things and I have learnt a lot about myself and others. From being up to being down and then up again, from being extremely happy to feeling blue and happy again.

I learnt valuable lessons, such as not being afraid of who I am and dealing with whatever life throws at me. It feels that I become wiser the older I get and know and accept what I’m capable of. Determination becomes a key element in achieving my goals. Not giving up midway through when things go wrong or not the way I have planned.

At the end, I’m still that little girl who wants to achieve success and make a difference in this world. Today I wish this little girl to stay as she is and follow her passion without letting anyone tell her that she can’t because what ever she set her mind to she can do it. This is the same thing I say to my kids on a daily basis.

Thanks again everyone, feeling grateful and loved.

My proudest moment

It is quite rare to have this sensation of mix emotions that vary from being extremely proud to deeply humbled.

In the last few weeks I was focused on the tasks that I needed to deliver which affected my main focus, my amazing kids, and no I’m not a biased.  After an extremely busy week overseas, I finally got back home to find an amazing surprise from my dearest daughter.

As a rule, every time I travel I make sure that at least once a day I get to see or speak with my family. Throughout the week, my gorgeous daughter said that she has a surprise for me, and what a wonderful surprise it was.

When I arrived home, she gave me a wrapped gift with a 3 page document. The document heading was: “50 things I love about my mum”. When I unwrapped the package I found 9 little gifts that had been chosen carefully. From coupons she made to a little bag with M&M chill pills.

The most amazing thing was to read the things she wrote and the way she described me through her lenses.

This made my day and I was touched. I truly believe that it is the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me. When I told this to my daughter she replied that it made her day too.

Everyday I am grateful for my amazing family and it has always been and always will be my rock and the reason to do everything I do.

Leverage a flat situation

On Monday it was one of those days that didn’t go as planned and in my head felt like a total chaos.

On top of the crazy day when I finally got in the car to make my way back home in the first traffic lights someone knocked on my window advising me that I have a flat tyre. A bit frustrated, I turned around and got back to work car park.

Determined that I would be able to replace the tyre based on watching my husband doing it numerous times. Unfortunately, it didn’t work and I was concerned that I will be staying in the car park for a while. As it was late afternoon, few people had home and saw me fighting with the car tyre. They offered assistance, a lovely lady named Natalie who tried to assist me and called her husband to come through to assist and Gareth who actually replaced the type and made it looks so effortless.

Thanks to these amazing people I managed to be on my way back home. Truly appreciate the amazing culture where people help each other even though it means that they will need to stay back and late for their own plans.

It is up to you on how you handle the circumstances, from a poor situation I met amazing people who reminded me that I’m in the right place.

Can’t thank them enough.