Mental Health

10 Questions With A Performance Coach

Meaningful life lessons you can learn from TedX speaker, S Venkatesh to achieve your personal and professional goals.

By URLife Team
04 Nov 2023

Are you mindful and productive in your working environment?


In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace, the concept of mental and emotional well-being has taken centre stage. Where distractions seem to lurk around every corner, the art of mindfulness has become a precious sanctuary for those seeking to find solace in the present moment. So, how can we navigate this relentless stream of distractions and truly savour the moments that matter? 


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As professional commitments today grow extremely demanding, cultivating a positive attitude becomes essential. Mindfulness is a practice that allows us to be fully present in the moment, offering respite from the relentless distractions that seek our attention. It's not just a matter of personal satisfaction; a positive mindset can have a profound impact on workplace productivity, teamwork, and overall success. 

Whether you're a team member looking to thrive in a collaborative environment or a leader aiming to inspire your workforce, the journey to a more positive workplace attitude begins with insights and practices that can revolutionise not only your own experience but also the work culture around you. But how can we truly stay present in this age of constant stimulation and information overload? What’s the way to deal with conflict, setbacks or burnout in professional settings? 


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We spoke to TedX speaker, author, investor, mindfulness and leadership coach Mr. S. Venkatesh, about the significance of fostering a positive attitude at the workplace and the strategies that can empower individuals to enhance their mental and emotional well-being in the professional realm. 


Here are a few questions answered by Mr. S. Venkatesh. 

1. How do you suggest an individual to cultivate a positive attitude to improve their mental and emotional well-being?

S. Venkatesh: Cultivating a positive attitude is the conscious effort to be optimistic, joyful and resilient. The first and foremost thing about cultivating a positive attitude is that we should be able to see things as they are. Many times we try to disregard negative emotions and force fit to positivity in ourselves. But life doesn’t necessarily work like this. We can only feel positive when we accept ourselves and the circumstances. 

Fundamentally, humans are born to feel optimistic, so positivity is bound to emerge. But you can’t use shortcuts, you have to go through a period of acceptance. This intentional practice has the remarkable power to enhance our mental and emotional well-being. A positive attitude is not about ignoring life's challenges; it's about facing them with a mindset that seeks solutions rather than dwelling on problems. In the process of cultivating positivity, we become better equipped to manage stress, build resilience, and embrace the beauty of each moment. It's a journey of self-discovery, self-compassion, and a commitment to a brighter and more fulfilling life. 


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2. How can imposter syndrome affect career progression, and what advice do you have for individuals dealing with it? 

S. Venkatesh: Imposter syndrome is quite common. All of us have a voice in ourselves that is constantly judging and criticising us, it is the voice of our inner critics. One may feel they are not worthy enough, suppress their ambition and so on. Some of these are images of our inner selves. To overcome the imposter syndrome, we have to allow ourselves the freedom to fail and feel as if there are certain things that will not go according to our plan. And, this can cause despair. 

Further, it is important to recognise that no one in the world is perfect. In a sense, we have made an imperfect world. So, once we break down this illusion of perfection, then we give ourselves the room for self-care of the highest order, we begin to think of ourselves as whatever life is giving us, we are worthy of it. It is important to recognise what image we have of ourselves and accept who we are. This makes the base for overcoming imposter syndrome. 


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3. How should a person navigate setbacks and failures?

S. Venkatesh: Navigating setbacks and failures is an art of resilience and personal growth. In life's unpredictable journey, we all encounter obstacles and moments of disappointment. It is important to know that we are human and imperfect. The moment we realise the setbacks are part of our endeavours, we view them as an obstacle..  We learn from our failures, become better and keep moving towards our end goal. However, it's how we respond to these challenges that truly define our character and future success. Take time to understand what led to the setback. Analyse the situation objectively and extract lessons from it. Failure often offers valuable insights. Reframe your perspective on setbacks. See them as opportunities for growth and learning. Consider reevaluating your goals and setting new ones. Setbacks can sometimes lead to more rewarding paths. 


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4. How can individuals avoid burnout and find a healthy work-life balance?

S. Venkatesh: In burnout, we tend to get carried away due to external pressure. It could be a work-related or personal storm. Achieving this equilibrium involves setting boundaries, prioritising self-care, and making conscious choices to nurture both your professional and personal life. 

To avoid burnout and find a healthy work-life balance, establish clear boundaries between work and personal time. Define specific working hours and stick to them. Avoid checking emails or taking work calls during your personal time. Do yoga, listen to your favourite music, or go out and spend time with nature. Prioritise tasks, delegate when possible, and avoid overloading your schedule. Effective time management can reduce stress and prevent burnout. Make adjustments as needed to ensure you're dedicating enough time to personal well-being and relationships.


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5. How would you define mindfulness, and what does it mean to you personally?

S. Venkatesh: For me, mindfulness is being aware, primarily of yourself. Today we have a lot of noise around us like social media, work pressure, etc. You have to be aware of what’s happening around you, but do not react to it. Most of us go through this action-reaction automatic cycle, where something happens externally without our conscious knowledge and we just react almost momentarily. Mindfulness means being conscious and not reacting momentarily. 


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6. How can individuals apply mindfulness to improve their focus, productivity, and concentration in their work or daily tasks?

S. Venkatesh: Absolutely! Mindfulness can enhance a person’s focus, productivity, and concentration in their work. Instead of juggling multiple tasks simultaneously, practise single-tasking. Devote your full attention to one task at a time, completing it before moving on to the next. This can improve the quality and efficiency of your work. Visualise what you aim to accomplish and why it's important. This can provide a sense of purpose and motivation. Avoid the temptation to multitask, as it can fragment your attention and reduce the quality of your work.  Embrace the present moment rather than rushing through it.


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7. How do you guide individuals in resolving conflicts in both personal and professional settings?

S. Venkatesh: Conflicts are common occurrences in both personal and professional settings. It usually happens between two individuals when their thought processes contradict each other. One may not like the proposed idea or way of handling the work of the other, or disagree on something which they find irrelevant. Effective conflict resolution promotes understanding, strengthens relationships, and fosters a positive environment. Clearly identify the root of the conflict. What are the specific issues or concerns that need resolution? Focusing on the core problem can prevent tangential disputes. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Try to understand their feelings, needs, and motivations. Create a safe space where both parties feel comfortable sharing their viewpoints. View conflicts as opportunities for growth and learning. What can you take away from the experience to prevent future disputes? Be willing to compromise if necessary.


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8. How do you encourage individuals to break free from self-doubt and fear of failure when trying to be more creative?

S. Venkatesh: Regard fear or failure as an integral part of your lives and work environment. Mostly, we all consider failure as something which is bad or shameful. But, I think all creative endeavours have failure attached to them. The main thing is to experiment and give yourself the freedom to fail. If you do fail at it, learn fast and quickly move on from them. 


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9. How do you guide individuals through major career transitions, such as job changes or promotions, and what strategies do you recommend for a smooth transition?

S. Venkatesh: Career transitions have three phases. First is denial, it means you cling to what you have. You tend to deny whether the change is happening or hope that the change doesn’t happen and somehow hope that the status quo is maintained.  After this, you through some form of gradual acceptance; you realise the old is no longer here to stay and you have not entered into the new so it is quite a challenging period. Because you feel like you are neither here, nor there. 

New habits or patterns haven’t started forming yet, and this is the phase where most people usually give up. So, try to identify as many anchoring thoughts, behaviours, and habits as you can. For example, if a person is going through a career transition, are they seeing the same in their personal life like maybe a morning routine, a walk, exercise or meeting with a friend, providing an anchoring sort of effect. Once you navigate the second phase, the third phase is a new beginning which is exciting, you get into a new pattern, habit and new way of life. 


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10. What are the necessary skills for opening doors to new opportunities?

S. Venkatesh: There are a number of skills to get new opportunities and nowadays social media is full of these. The most important skill in my view is to cultivate a healthy self-image. You do that by repeatedly trying to do things in a way that is mindful and self-aware. The second thing is to understand that the key to all positive changes lies within yourself. We often blame our external circumstances, but once you recognise that you have the ability to make difficult choices in any situation, I think that is the most critical skill to have. Besides, other skills are to be okay to take risks, be okay to potentially fail, keep open to new ideas, new ways of collaborating with people, and so on. 


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