Taking 100% Responsibility

If we all shrunk in our ability to serve simply because we feared what others might think, where would we be as humans, what great achievements would have forever lingered in the dustbin of broken dreams?

– Brendon Buchard


Recently I did an amazing workshop and one of the concepts I learnt was taking 100% responsibility.  There are times we get stuck in our situation, feeling like a victim. Thinking to yourself – I am not good enough, I have taken a long break Or Why me. A lot of negativity can set in with such thoughts.

I have been there myself, but there is a way to get out of the loop. There is a way to create life of your vision. Your own life, not anyone else’s vision of what your life should be like. The first step is to start taking 100% responsibility.

Taking 100% responsibility is about getting out of the stories our mind is telling us. It is our mind telling us we are not good enough.  It is our mind wanting us to believe that we are victim of the situation.

Here are some tips on what you can do to accept 100% responsibility to take charge of your own career and your own life without blaming anyone else and without holding anyone else responsible.

  1. Love yourself, appreciate what you have created. Look at everything in your life that is going well.  It could be your kids, your health, your education, your partner.  Find gratitude for what you have. Certainly there are wonderful things happening. Your accomplishments are just as important as your missteps. Congratulate yourself on your successes.
  2. Stop being the victim, Change your mindset. Remembering that it’s your own life, if you find yourself in less than ideal situation, wonder into how you have created this situation. This could be frightening when we start looking at ourselves instead of finding someone else to blame like our parents, society, husband, circumstances, education etc. Always remembering there is a choice and that choice in your own.
  3. Explore the purpose of your life beyond just earning money or being in a career because someone else wants you to do so. Ponder over the question – What do I really want? The best way for me is to sit in a comfortable position, close my eyes and start going inward while asking this question to myself. This question can apply to any situation. As you answer this question for yourself, you might get clarity on not just your professional career but the choices you are making in your life. Being on a break is a great time to take a step back and start creating your ideal life. Remember your ideal life is about you and the choices you make. These choices are what determine the outcome of life, as opposed to what ‘happened’ to us. Can you step outside your belief system, can you change your perspective on life?
  4. Make friends with your inner critic. Inner critic is the voice in your head that continues to create self-doubt.  It tells us we are not good enough or finding reasons of why we can’t be successful. Inner critics love making stories. The inner critics keep us in a state of monkey mind by continually keeping us from reaching our fullest potential. The best way to deal with this voice in your head is to acknowledge it. Once you have acknowledged it, then ask your inner critic to be your ally, your friend. Instead of always telling you that you are not good enough or putting fear in you, ask this voice to become your ally to help you to achieve your dreams.
  5. Shift your perspective – If you have been defending yourself and telling yourself reasons of why you haven’t been able to make progress, I invite you to shift that perspective to learning. Learning about yourself and take action based on what you find.

 Shifting Perspective- An Exercise

Here is a wonderful exercise that can help you shift perspective and take actions. Find one issue or a difficult situation in your life. For example – I am not able to find a job after career break? Ask yourself following questions in order

-          How am I creating this? How am I responsible for this?  - The way I am creating this situation is that I have not worked in a long time and my skills are not up to date.

-          is there more to this situation than what I am accepting? Is there anything I don’t want to face? I actually don’t want to go back to corporate life but I am afraid to do anything else

-          Why am I keeping this situation the way it is? What’s my motivation?  I am not keeping the situation, I am trying. Maybe I am not trying hard enough because I don’t really like the corporate life

-          What would I rather be experiencing? – I want to be putting my skills and education to use, but I want flexibility

-          Think of one action  that is time bound, realistic, specific – Think of 5 different ways to earn money while putting my skills and education to use and having flexibility in my life by end of this month.

Contributed by Anshu Singh

Anshu worked as technologist for 20+ years in California when she realised her passion of changing lives and helping people. She is a certified yoga teacher and brings positivity in lives through yoga, energy healing and breath work. She is strategy advisor for relauncHER- an initiative to bring experienced women professionals back to work.

Challenge Yourself

Last week, I was preparing dinner and suddenly realised there is no atta (flour) at home. I panicked. What should I do? Rush to the grocery shop or call the grocer to deliver it or ask someone in the family to get it fast. Pause. I told myself- It’s ok if there is no atta. Let me not buy atta till next weekend and see what happens. For the full week I treated us with some interesting unusual dishes that otherwise I would not have explored.

“If something that you’re doing doesn’t challenge you, then it doesn’t change you.”Challenge yourself

Challenging yourself from time to time is a good way to practice and prepare for the unexpected challenges that often come up in life and help us to be in control. We usually fall into routine because it’s easy, manageable and predictable. But our routines will not take us in direction of greater heights. We need our daily dose of challenge.

Here are few simple ways of making yourself uncomfortable:

  1. Go for a digital detox- Try it this weekend- no computer/phone/TV.  Enjoy the real people around you.
  2. Figure out one thing that you are scared of. Promise yourself to do that for one week consistently.
  3. Go Backpacking- Rather than taking an all inclusive luxury tour go backpacking. Pack basics and travel local, eat local, stay local.
  4. Learn something new- pick up a hobby, a language, a new skill-driving, cooking anything. Make it a project and take it to completion.
  5. Identify one expense head that you can cut back realistically. Now invest the amount you save.


When you get out of your comfort zone, you explore new possibilities. New routes open for you. You get creative. You explore the unexplored. Making yourself uncomfortable and challenging yourself will help you grow your skills and knowledge and above all give you the belief that You Can!

Let us know how you are going to challenge yourself in the comments below.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep calm“I have been trying to return to work from past so many months, I feel so suffocated and frustrated…”  Job search especially after a career break is tough and often brings lots of negative energy. Self doubt, frustration of futile attempts, disappointments can leave us feeling worthless. But negativity and frustration only lead to a downward spiral. We need to trust ourselves during rough patches and keep going. But how? Let’s start with five minutes.

Brad Willis, a former NBC News foreign correspondent and now a Vedic scholar-Bhava Ram, shares some simple steps with Inc. to increase your calm and mental focus any time, even sitting at a desk- by taking five minutes to follow these eight steps. These are not very difficult meditation and yoga techniques but very simple easy to do steps with some proven big results.

1. Close your eyes.

Bring your attention inward, and notice that you are moving to internalized awareness. Set aside the distractions and stimulations of the day for the moment.

2. Listen to your breath.

Really listen, Bhava Ram advises. “Make it deeper, slower, smoother, and fuller.”

3. Feel your body.

Follow your breath as it reaches all of your body’s outer edges.

4. Feel the support beneath you.

That’s the chair you’re sitting on and the floor under your feet, but ultimately it’s the planet itself. “Feel the support of the earth,” he says.

5. Think “I” as you inhale and “am” as you exhale.

Continue repeating these thoughts as you breathe. This will deepen your calm and inner focus. “It’s implementing a yoga pose for the mind,”

6. Bring your awareness to your heart center.

The “heart center,” which is the fourth chakra, or energy point in your body, is a spot right behind your breastbone. Focus your attention there “as though it were the light of a candle flame,” he says.

7. Stay in the moment.

Remember that you are here in the present moment and that you have everything you need to solve the problems before you.

8. Remember that we are all connected.

“All of us are connected with all that is,” Bhava Ram says. “And in this state of awareness, begin to contemplate the task at hand.”

Give yourself this time every day to bring some positive energy, increased focus and self belief into your life.

Things to Do on a Career Break

Things to do on career break

You have decided to quit working for a while. May be just for a year or two. Life circumstances sometimes force us to take decisions that we don’t want to. Leaving your career, giving your ambitions a back-seat is certainly not easy.

But if you want to bounce back after this phase is over, prepare for it! Returning to work is not easy after a career break. Here are few things you can do to make sure your career break is a productive one. Whatever your circumstances are, try to dedicate 1-2 hours daily to nurture your career, to keep you updated and to make returning to work easy for you. Listed are few life events that might have forced you to quit and some things you can do to make your coming back easy.

  1. Relocation: Spouse relocation is quiet common. Many women leave their jobs to accompany their husbands for their assignments abroad or because of getting married in some other city/state. See your break as an opportunity to learn a new language, understand a new culture. Take online courses. It’s easy to volunteer in most of the countries. Contribute your skills for a cause that will also help you keep updated in your field and later you can show it as experience in your profile.
  2. Child Birth and Care: When the baby is small make time to take few online certification courses in your domain to up skill yourself. When you have little bit more time in your hand opt for Freelancing. Working on live projects will ensure you are never out of touch.
  3. Elderly Care: Similar to child care- depending upon the time you have, opt for online courses and freelancing.
  4. Health and other personal problems: It depends on your health condition. If you are completely bed ridden take time to recover without the additional guilt of career break. Keep in touch through reading from online and offline resources.


For all the above conditions a universal rule is never to disappear from the scene. Be active on LinkedIn, keep in touch with your colleagues and friends through social media and other channels. Read business news and current affairs to know what changes are happening.

And when you are ready to return, send us your profile and we’ll try our best to help you return to work.




How to Work from Home (Part- 2): Telecommuting

Dilbert © Scott Adams, Inc./Dist. by UFS, Inc.

Dilbert © Scott Adams, Inc./Dist. by UFS, Inc.

Many big employers in India are now offering policies and programme to assist their women employees through crucial milestones of life. Companies are making an effort to retain women in their workforce by providing them the option of working from home. Employers are recognising the need of a work environment that supports a good work life balance and in many cases it actually increases employee availability, productivity and retention.

Technology companies took the lead in India by introducing mobility suite of IT applications that allow access to office IT infrastructure from anywhere. This enabled work from home and flex time. Companies now offer various flexible working models to cater to different segments of employees who have diverse needs and priorities.

Work from home programs are blessing for women who have to take care of personal and social responsibilities along with their job. Such flexible work options help women to continue with their careers at critical life stages like child birth or elderly care.

Many employers generally are reluctant to hire a new employee who wants to work from home from day one. A better and feasible arrangement is to work from office for initial months to familiarise with the company’s work culture and later switch to working from home. It’s an understanding between employer and employee if she would prefer a temporary work from home arrangement or would like to work permanently from home.

Work from home does not hinder ones’ career growth directly, but employees working from home have to work harder than their in-office peers to increase their visibility, showcase their contributions and to network. It takes lots of discipline and hard work.

In India, a common dilemma for employees is that working from home affects their career prospects and lower the chances of a promotion.  It is partially true however here are few tips to make remote working work for you:

-Self Discipline: Do not take work-from-home for granted. With liberty comes responsibility- you have flexibility on your time but deadlines should be always adhered to.

-Time Management: The success of telecommuting depends on effective time management. You need to decide your working hours and communicate it to your colleagues too. Mixing up work and home responsibilities will only increase your stress.

-Be in Touch: Do not isolate yourself. Stay in touch with colleagues at work so that you are aware of what is happening out there, attend office parties and get-togethers. If possible, plan to be in office for sometime (ideally no less than once a week).

-Effective Communication: When you are not physically present in a meeting, effective communication becomes quiet critical to help you in making your presence felt.

In the end, flexibility must lead to increased productivity to make remote working successful.

How to Work from Home (Part-1): Freelancing

Work from Home

Work from home broadly defines two scenarios: Either a person working for a company opts to work from home (telecommute) or a person works from home independently as a freelancer (self employment). Focus for this post is freelancing.

Freelancing is a good choice for those who prefer versatility and flexibility. Certain skill sets like designing, writing, translation, accounting, photography, social media, apps development are more apt for freelancing. Many freelancing sites in India are not legitimate thus searching and identifying the right freelance projects is not easy. There are plenty of good global websites that can help you find suitable projects worldwide as a freelancer for a small fee.

Below are key pointers to help you establish as a freelancer:

-Showcase your skills: Build an online portfolio, a blog or a facebook page as per your expertise. References from previous clients are a big plus.

-Research your client: Distinguish between legitimate work from home jobs and stay away from scams.

-Build Your Network: As a freelancer you will be working alone most of the times. Try to network with people in your domain by attending seminars, conferences etc.

-Use Social Media: Promote your offerings on social media like LinkedIn and Facebook.

-Know your Worth: Depending upon your experience level and expertise decide the amount you will be charging for your services.

Though it might be difficult to find well-paying clients at the beginning but start small and build your credibility gradually as a freelancer. Freelancers need to decide the optimum price of their services. Your earnings depend upon your expertise and the amount of work you undertake. For freelancers it is also important to keep themselves up-skilled in their domains. So they should consider re-investing a part of their income in their career growth through various trainings, courses and conferences.

Check Your Cover Letter- 5 Essentials

cover letter

“Dear Hiring Manager, I am applying for xyz job that I came across on abc website” 95% of cover letters have a similar beginning and unfortunately a similar end-landing in a big pile of HR database.

Cover letters are like movie trailers. They are teasers for our big story (our career). Teaser has to be engaging and interesting to drive the audience (hiring managers) to watch the full movie (your resume and interviewing You).  A well written cover letter has power to distinguish you and help you stand out in those thousands of resumes.

Have a strong opening line- preferably your elevator pitch.  Stay away from the standard opening lines. Write something that shows you are eligible and enthusiastic.

 “I’m a graphics design professional with 12 years of experience and I’d love to bring my expertise and passion to your growing creative team.” 

Keep it small- Your cover letter should ideally be one or two paragraphs and never more than a page. Remember, this letter needs to be customised for each role you are applying for and must highlight the skills you possess related to that role.

Do your Homework: Research the company and the job opening you are applying for. Read the news related to that company/industry/domain. Find the common grounds and then mention in your cover letter how you can contribute.

Use Keywords: Keywords are vital part of a cover letter and should be used judiciously to enhance the impact of your offerings. Analyze the job opening and look for keywords that define you best.

 Analyzed, quantified, planned, programmed, designed, created, built, mentored, taught, trained etc are some talent defining keywords.

To show your achievements result oriented keywords like increased, reduced, redesigned, upgraded, initiated, implemented, reformulated, generated, and produced can be used.

In addition to these highlight your recognitions by keywords such as- honored, awarded, promoted, selected, lauded for, received a bonus for, recognized, chosen and credited.

Reflect your Personality: It is important to give that human touch to your cover letter. Do not write it as if you are a robot with certain set of specifications. Reflect your enthusiasm- write why you would like to work for this particular company, why you are a right person for this role.

And once again the most important task is to customize your cover letter for each and every job role you are applying for.

Spruce up your cover letter and see how this single page document can lead you to wonderful opportunities.

Build Your Confident Persona

Confident Woman

Most Indian Women are taught to be subservient, not confident. We are told that we need to listen, not speak up. I see many professional Indian women with hunched shoulders, not making eye contact in a meeting, not standing tall and not speaking up. Also women don’t ask for raises or negotiate for their job package. We need to get our voices heard to get what we deserve and to get ahead.

Being in a male dominated software industry, I started working on a persona that will get me heard despite my petite stature and soft voice. Here are five steps that will help Indian women build that confident and successful professional persona:

Think positive to start with, never ever think or say negative things about you or about what you are doing. We all have things which we can improve on, but focus on things you are really good at and that you enjoy doing. It doesn’t mean that you stop evolving as a person and start ignoring things to work on. Don’t use sentences like – ‘Sorry to take up your time’. Instead say, ‘Thank you for your time’. Don’t say – ‘I am terrible at….’. Instead say, ‘I am working to be better at….’. There are always two sides to a coin, try to focus on the positive side. A positive attitude goes a long way in bringing out a confident persona.

Our great scripture, the Bhagwat Gita, states, “Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana, Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani.” It means, do your task without being attached to the result. This detachment gives you additional confidence when you are doing your best but you don’t sound desperate for results. It helps you to be in the moment, to be present. When you are in your confident career woman persona – don’t think of the past, don’t worry about what will come next but be your best in the present moment. Give your hundred percent to it.

Develop body awareness – Stand tall, make sure that your shoulders are not hunched. Here are some simple yoga postures to bring out the confidence in you:

1. Standing on your heels with arms stretched above you, make yourself as tall as possible. Come back down after you have taken 2 deep breaths. Repeat twice.

2. Plant right foot firmly on the floor, raise the left foot and put it somewhere on your right leg (except the knee). Balance. Slowly outstretch your arms above you in a V shape. Stand tall and grounded like a tree but be ready to sway when needed so you don’t fall. Take a couple of deep breaths and focus. Repeat on the other side.

Practice, Practice, Practice – Practice your communication skills in front of the mirror or with trusted friends/ family members. Develop your professional voice. Bring out the voice that is confident and firm. Try not to ramble, but communicate in a way that is clear, concise and confident. Practice your listening skills so you don’t cut off others but come across as attentive. Find toastmasters in your area. They can really help with practicing your verbal skills.

Absorb it in: For a few minutes every day, find a quiet place, close your eyes and imagine the most confident you – either speaking at a public forum or asking for a raise or giving the toughest interview – whatever your situation might be. Say to yourself – ‘I am confident’, ‘I am successful’ or choose another affirmation that works for you. These positive affirmations will help in building a confident and professional persona that is necessary in today’s world.

Just one last thing, find a professional attire that works for you. It could be a saree, pant suit, jacket or anything that speaks to you about the confident professional woman you are about to become. Anytime you want that added confidence, put on your professional attire, like a superwoman ready to take on the world and bring out your confident career woman persona.

Go ahead – make that presentation to your CEO, present your idea to a VC or ask for a raise. Whatever your goal maybe, get closer to it!


This article was originally published on Womensweb.in

Tools and Templates to Pep Up Your Resume

Resume writing is a tedious task. To make your resume impressive and make it stand out is even more challenging. Here we present some easy to use resume tools ‘n templates from the web that will help you get started and are absolutely free to use.

Text Resume: These resume are always a safe bet for a conservative corporate environment. Use these templates to give a creative touch to your profile without going overboard.











 For more such templates visit: Primer Magazine



Infographic Resume: Get Creative, give your plain text resume a makeover. Infographic resumes are great way of showing your profile online. Create a visually stunning resume using this resume builder powered by Accenture.

Infographic Resume













Video Resume:

Also known as profile video, creating a video resume is an excellent way to stand out from the competition. There are many tools available online to create your video profile. Tools like Resu-me can let you instantly convert your LinkedIn profile to a compelling video resume complete with a voice over and infographic.



Nurture Your Executive Presence


A polished resume and an updated LinkedIn Profile are undoubtedly vital tools in your job search. But sometimes an awesome profile is not alone sufficient. You need something extra. That distinguishing factor that can highlight you despite of your career break.

According to a study conducted by Centre of Talent Innovation (CTI) though work/life balance challenges are often cited as a major factor, the fact that many women do not understand Executive Presence(EP), let alone how  to exude it, also plays an important role in their careers.

Executive Presence is build up of three essential components-

Gravitas: the ability to project confidence, poise under pressure, and decisiveness

Confidence deficit? Do not assume that your career break has made you less worthy. Do not underestimate the value of projects, volunteering activities, short assignments, freelance work that you have done in your career break. Be confident of the choices you made.

You can opt for Yoga as your confidence builder. Yoga has the proven potential to improve your confidence and performance at workplace.

Communicationwhich comprises excellent speaking skills, assertiveness, and the ability to read an audience or situation

Confident communication is your key. During any interaction speak with authority and ease. Practice speaking slowly, thoughtfully and a little bolder voice. Fast speech indicates nervousness.

Appearancelooking polished and pulled together

Appearance does matter. Choose your clothing according to your work environment. Do not compromise on comfort-keep your individual style but your looks should be polished and professional.

Cultivate your executive presence and discover a new you-ready to take on the challenges and all set  to come back to the corporate world.