Another hour gone! Where did it go? When did it become a year, Or for that matter, Several years, Where do I look for you? Oh! The hour gone-by! Are you a fleeting moment, In the depth of my heart, In the spindles, of my sleep! In the recess of my mind! Or are you lurking? The hour gone-by Somewhere around, Behind the eyes, In the ears, Waiting, laughing Teasing, crying? Wanting a release, From the time! No longer happy To be an hour, Running to be a memoir Of the sun’s ray Or the moon’s shine Or the broad smile That welcomes 2020!
They are master storytellers who can weave a thought into characters with emotions. Throughout history, writers are revered. But, they are hardly ever paid their dues; until and unless they are dead or they are a Shakespeare or Gulzar. The rest of the tribe struggles to make a mark, battling self-doubt and penury, before they are lavished with praise and money. The sad truth, most of them never achieve the recognition. Once the story is shared, it is open to: Interpretation; Ridicule; Theft.
And, the story, the character and the interactions that the writers housed in their mind for days and months, ends with smirks, insults and ultimate, what were you thinking? Or for that matter, were you even thinking?
But, the desire to tell a story lingers. The story begins with a thought.
A story is an extension of the writer’s power of imagination, just like a building exhibits the power of an architect’s imagination. The words are not hastily crafted, they are nourished. The writer obsesses over each word and movement. They want to create a story that resounds with the heart of the readers.
There are sleepless nights. Days
spent hunched over the writing pad or the keypad. Families shunned, as the
story becomes one with the writer. Friends ignored, as imaginary friends
dominate the thoughts. Parents forgotten, as the writer seeks validation and love
from the publishers. Siblings lost, as peers become the go-to-source for
healthy debates and unhealthy competition. Children unattended, as the story whirls and
churns in the mind, leaving no space for
the antics of the seed and soul.
The spouse is left to suffer. The
writer is building an amorous relationship with the characters, showering them
with passion (both love and hatred), casual conversations and indifference.
But, the writer remains unaware; living in self-imposed solitary confinement of the mind. They are consumed by the feelings for the protagonist and villain. They remain engrossed in telling the story, talking to themselves, writing for themselves and sharing a part of themselves.
Then comes the end. The story is complete, or is it? They go back and reread, shredding some words there, adding a new conversation, here. Doubts surface and the writer inhabits the world of the characters, seeking validation; adoration; praise. The publisher is hard to impress; the readers even more. Their minds are open to the vastness of other ideas and thoughts. They are unimpressed. A quick peek, a frown or a shrug and the story is left alone in the untouched, and forgotten pile. A fleeting moment, unremembered forever!
What are the readers looking for when they read? A return on their investment, or an emotionally charged story that remains indelible in their minds? The answer is both. The writer has worked without encouragement. The storytelling is nothing but a desire to share their ideas.
Ideas they formed in their heads and
hearts. Ideas they deemed necessary for the world to read. Ideas that now stand
broken and unappreciated. Ideas that are now the death of a dream.
The writer knows not how they floundered and why?
They seek validation; they seek love; they seek to write again. Is it the hunger of grandiose, and greed to be revered? Or is it a simple tale of caring and sharing?
Whatever the reason. They are ready. Ready to take on the challenge of losing a bit of their life, again! Ready, for sharing a part of themselves, again, in the hope, they can now impress. Or depress themselves!
We become teachers from the day we are born. As we progress through life, we keep on teaching
We teach our: Parents, the art of loving unconditionally and fiercely. Siblings, the power of sharing and caring. Grandparents, the abundance of love a heart can hold. Aunts and uncles, to know that a heart cannot burst with love Friends, the value of comradership are important to create fun experiences BFFs. the art of listening to pain without letting go. Cousins, that getting into scrapes together is the most fun thing to do Teachers, to never stop wondering at how each new batch savors new information. Classmates how to love, hare or admire subjects and school Peers, the ability to look at things differently, with heated arguments Colleagues, that hardwork and honesty promotes trust and brotherhood Spouse, that the concept of two bodies and one life exists, may be, differently for us, but it does exist Kids, the value of friendship, kindness and every thing else we know is important to be happy Ourselves, continuously, the importance of contentment and staying in touch with ourselves and the ones we love
After the resounding win in the Election 2019 in India, PM Narendra Modi gave his first speech at the joint parliamentary meeting of the National Democratic Party, before starting his second term. The leader of the country spoke like a true leader of modern business. After all the famous Winston Churchill once said, “Politics is not a game, but serious business.” PM Modi agrees with the ideology of Business and Politics. He knows that the nation is a business and should be run like one! His speech certainly indicates that sentiment.
As I listened to the speech, I could picture many leaders nodding their heads in agreement. Is it wrong to hope that the executives would have focused on the expressions of the attendees? With vicarious pleasure, maybe! The mighty MPs are as scared and humbled. They would have recalled similar meetings in their conference rooms with their reporting managers and CEOs, as individual and collective future were discussed. As a hard-working executive married to a Founder & CEO, I am in the unique position to understand both the vision of the Prime Minister and the dread of the MPs.
Here are my #10takeaways from this speech!
You have to think of the larger goal – During his speech, the Prime Minister told his future and present MPs, “Work for your constituency, but don’t forget the country as a whole”. Go treat yourself to chocolate chip ice-cream if you have never heard this or as a leader said this! If you are an executive, your company may not be going places – so go ahead and look for a new job! Are you a leader who has never said this, then it is high time to buy an MBA book.
You have to take care of your constituency – Each MP is elected from a constituency. The MP is responsible for ensuring infra, education, jobs, etc., for all the people in his or her constituency. Similarly, while executives work for the larger vision of their organizations, each wants their department to ace their performance. Don’t expect any business leader to say this – it is expected of you – just look at your KRAs! It is the classic case of Business in Politics!
Energy – Most journalists and bloggers are focusing on the two words the prime minister used – energy and synergy. Now, if you are working with a successful organization or an entrepreneur who has come from one such organization, ‘Be energetic, people’ is a catchphrase you hear, and imbibe, becoming a part of you. All leaders want people with energy, but what about the laidback, and not so ‘lithe’? They are the ones holding the fort while the energetic are brandishing their swords, sorry, getting clients onboard!
Synergy – If this word does not begin to describe new age business lingo, then somebody, please reach out and give me a lesson. A quick search on Google shows this definition, “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances or other substances, to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” For those of you going “What the funk”, it means when all employees work together, happily, then the business is a success. Leaders want it, employees want it, but individual goals can become, to put it nicely, roadblocks to companies shopping for success! It happened to the Congress – so, yeah, a break in synergy can happen anytime and anywhere!
First Time Leaders – Shed Your Arrogance – In modern businesses, is arrogance a gift or a curse? We want all our leaders to be humble, but a certain arrogance, which stems from self-belief is required. As an executive and manager, I know the line separating belief from bumblebee is so thin it’s almost invisible! But, the PM, put the win in perspective, you cannot afford arrogance. Similarly, business leaders will have no qualms in telling their people, the need to be humble, always be available and remain attached to their roots. This is Politics in Business!
Nothing is off-the-record – How true! How quaint! How modern! We all know the reality of social media. The permanence of a social post! When an MP speaks to a journalist off-the-record, the PM warned, don’t be surprised to see a news item the next day focusing on your words. Ok, your leader will not say this, but every seasoned executive knows that what they speak in hushed conversations is misinterpreted and told to the immediate boss and their boss! So, seriously, think, rethink, repeat and then speak!
I am one of you –When PM Modi says this, we want to believe him! Every leader worth his salt says this! Every executive wants to believe! How many executives really believe this statement? How many leaders are not lip-syncing? The ones who behave like they mean it are the ones who manage to scale new heights – their people are happy to follow them. For the rest, executives know you are lying, really we do. Say it, as you mean it, and then walk the talk!
Give VIP Culture a boot – Imagine an India without the “Do you know who my father is?” culture. I cheered on hearing this and will give be highly impressed when (IF) it finally happens. But, in organizations, the client is the VIP as is the senior management. You can’t even think of giving them a boot! My takeaway – clients are partners and when there is respect and positivism, there is no VIP culture, just two separate energies synergizing! I am getting good at the business talks!
Ambition and Aspirations – This is a big one – the PM spoke about national ambition and regional aspirations. In business terms, it is personal aspirations and business ambition or vice versa? If you know the difference, share the details. I believe aspirations are the stepping stones for ambition! The formula is – Aspire-Aim-Achieve. It’s not as simple or awe-inspiring as it sounds! The PMs NDA speech became wonderful with these words, but the magnitude of living up to these is huge! Executives and leaders know it so well – who has not attended seminars or created PPTs with objectives, strategies and tactics! That’s the finer print, or way forward, for these two lofty words.
Women Power – Women have stormed the Lok Sabha in large numbers – the PM focused on this with a smile. Not enough, but higher than ever before. Out of the 724 women who contested, 78 women have been elected. Should this be big for a country which already had a woman Prime Minister? It shouldn’t be but it is! The elections 2019 are a springboard for the bigger role women will play. How does that resonate with modern business? Every day, across the world, women are breaking barriers to break the glass ceiling, and yet people will ask them – when will you settle, who are you seeing, etc. Look up Jemimah Rodrigues people or simply ask Mr Rahul Gandhi, who has been handled the bastion of his family – why – because he is the son! Patriarchy continues to rock, and it will sink us all! Smart business owners and leaders don’t differentiate.
Take a lesson, or teach it to others, politics is business, business is money, money is happiness, and happiness is people!
Storytelling is the art of stringing together your ideas and words of fantasy and everyday observations into interesting sentences. One book I read recently used the art of storytelling to capture the latest marketing must-have for businesses and individuals especially digital marketers. Written by Harshit Bhardwaj, a digital marketer since 2008, author and publisher, the book is a guideline for people looking to meet the stringent standards of Google and Moz, while staying true to their identity. My take, a child rules the heart of parents, authors write for readers, and brands produce content for their audiences. Each one is telling a story, as am I!
Who am I to tell you about selling through stories? I am – a mother, a child, a homemaker, a content marketer, a friend, a sister, a wife, an aunt, a dreamer, and so many more things! Society expects me to separate each part of my personality, but, how can I? Each role defines me, and yet, the brand ‘me’ lacks an identity. I read this book, AtoB by Harshit Bhardwaj, and I realized, the need to first get my story straight. So, I am many things, but what is my story?
I am not here to review the book or talk about my writing journey – I am sharing with you things you and I can explore as a brand. I am here to share #10things from the book we can adapt to become better content creators and storytellers – to make our brand visible and viable.
Anyone who thinks this should be for professionals only, I ask you to share with the world, your thoughts on why parenting is not the most important profession in the world. So, from mums to students to professionals, everybody has a story to tell!
Understanding the concept of storytelling=
What is a story? Is it a picture that speaks a thousand
words or a few words creating indelible images? That is a debate for photographers
vs authors! But, I can tell you one thing, each one of us is a storyteller.
Artists and marketers have honed this skill to perfection, as have parents and
guardian. Hark back to a dialogue favored by parents and teachers across the
world, “I am counting till 3!”. They use language and emotions to get a child
to react. So, what is storytelling:
Expressing – your deepest thoughts and immediate
desires, directly and indirectly
Impressing – showing people your mental or
Processing – ability to use language and
pictures to express, impress and let go off stress
Storytelling is an idea to express and a goal to reach
2. An important aspect of sorytelling is nothing but the power to communicate!
Sagas, odes, short stories, horror stories, cartoon strips, corporate presentations, favourite threats by parents, are different forms of communications. They are created to tell a story. A story to inform, educate or entertain. In the book, Harshit uses the premise of 1001 nights where the new queen uses her communication skills to tell stories. Professionals, like you and I, need to tell our stories like Sheherazade, because the king (your audience):
Effortlessly – should believe her stories are
not designed to win her life
is intelligent, and he cannot be fooled
Repeatedly – will leave you if you don’t express
All you need is appropriate conversations to create your story.
3. You need the audience to react to your story
You want to tell a story to capture your audience! You use your power of words, stringing together random letters and words to form sentences that appeal, first to you and then to your audience. Are you writing a personal diary for your eyes only? Or is the story and narrative you are creating is for others? You need to know who your audience is:
Family – your kids listening to you create a bedtime story
Peers – the lover or boss you are trying to impress
World – a stranger interacting with your brand for the first time
Treat your audience like royalty, listening to all their whims!
4. Every story needs a narrative
Many people confuse storytelling with narrative, or narrative with communication! It’s easy to! A 1001 nights is a story, the narrative is the princess walking down in her bridal wear, ideas churning in her head of how to communicate and keep her King engaged! Similarly, you have to create a story, but more importantly, you need a powerful narrative to:
Pique audience’s interest – they should want you
continue the narration
Make readers emotional – they should laugh, cry,
fear, go into shock
Keep pace – adapt and adopt to changing tastes
Never forget the story, but, keep tweaking the narrative!
5. Call it magic or love at first sight
Stories, both written and pictorial, have always celebrated love at first sight. Falling in love with another person, a child you hold for the first time, a pet who licks your wounds, or a brand’s story for consumption by your users, makes the stories believable and likeable. Steve Jobs wanted people to love his computers. The product has to work but bring in the magic. To fall in love with a story:
React – one emotion to react, 0a child listening to monsters
Reminisce – one word to reminisce, an adult remembering the first kiss under the stars
Connect – one look to connect, a beautifully-designed computer by Apple
All it takes is one moment or one emotion to connect and fall in love and feel the magic.
6. Self-belief makes for a better story
I read somewhere that the Dementors in Harry Potter books are a manifestation of the depression that JK Rowling faced. Truth or fiction, no idea! But, the terrifying demons had the whole wizard world and the human population scared. The demons will take away your peace, piece by piece, and Rowling’s demons were the publishers rejecting her story, repeatedly. Yet, she stayed true to herself, and her narrative. For the best story you will ever create, you need to have:
Self-belief – believe in yourself, and your own
Conviction – stay true to your story against all
– never let the stress mar the
story you want to tell
Whisper the words to your soul before you broadcast to the world!
7. Desires are necessary to keep the narrative going
The first lesson that a student of economics is taught, human wants are unlimited. They keep growing. Even your desire and passion for your story and narrative will keep changing! Your audience’s desires will also grow. A two-year-old will be happy sitting on your lap and listening to your voice. Your ten-year-old, will want audio-visuals. Your first customer will want to fall in love with the first look, two-years down the line, they will want a better look. In Harshit’s words:
Survive – storytelling is about the survival of the smartest
Sustain – add novelty with a new narrative
Succeed – love, money or fame, it’s waiting for you
Goal realization makes for happy endings!
8. Use the modern tools to get your story heard!
Oral narratives have survived centuries! There is no accurate way to measure the timeline of these stories. But, today, your story can survive. Once published online, it will remain there, ready for viewing at an instant. A story you tell your child will shape how they behave 30-years later! Similarly, the story you tell your customers will affect their choices! Don’t hesitate to use these tools! Here are the tools you can use to get your kids, colleagues or clients to listen:
Social media posts – you can create instant stories
Person-to-person communication – buy a storybook, or use your child’s imagination to create a story unique to your family
Study the data – find & crunch data, use it to get results, keep repeating
Create data, but don’t forget to analyse!
9. Never let your story waver
Storytelling is difficult – you
are weaving tales that may or may not succeed. Your success is defined by your
goals, a sale on your e-store, a child’s hug, a boss’s nod of approval, million
likes on YouTube. The list is endless. But, your conviction will drive the
story, until is it told, retold, shared and reshared, through generations. To
keep moving forward, you need to keep:
Walking – take small steps in the beginning,
Talking – never let the narrative die out,
keeping adding the ‘masala’
Judging – the reaction of your audience is
necessary to change the narrative
Once again, stories are great starting points on the way to success
10. What is your S-effect?
It is the one I am working on! What is the intended effect of all my
writings? I am writing because I like to write. Because it is an inherent talent,
not many people have. If enjoyment is the only motive, then why publish. What
is my S-effect:
Applause from my peers – or recognition from a society which hates with passion?
Desire to let go and be unabashed or a reflection of my life?
Means to earn – become rich and famous?
The billion dollar question, all of these or none of these?
Mediterranean cruises offer you a travel experience that you will carry around in your heart, mind, and soul all the time. As you explore and travel through exotic and ancient cities of Greece, France, Italy or Turkey, it is an experience that will stay with you long after you step off the deck. The feel of the cruise’s rocking motion will sway your senses and lull you in your own bed at home. Breathtaking visuals of the sea, islands, and ports will mesmerize your whole being when you feel stressed from work. Mouthwatering varieties of fresh Mediterranean and other cuisines will continue to tantalize your taste buds long after you return home. As I said, the memories will stay afresh.
A Sailing City
A Mediterranean cruise liner is a luxury resort with its own boulevards, a-la-carte restaurants, sun lounges, swimming pools, spas, gymnasiums, concert halls, casinos, live performers, shows and much more. But, before you can indulge in any of these activities, an experienced traveler knows it makes sense to first explore and mesmerize the layout. If you are not inclined to do so, just carry the map of the liner with you. The chances of you getting lost are almost impossible, but if you do manage that, as I did, just turn to the all polite and smiling staff to guide you.
The Hopper Offer
The most interesting aspect of Mediterranean cruises is that you can travel to famous European cities and cover historical sites with the exuberance of a beach holiday. Some cruises meander through tiny islands whisking you away from the modern stresses without compromising on comfort or luxury. As per your travel plans to explore cities or luxuriate on the liner, choose cruise packages that suits your needs. Some packages include wine through the day while others offer staterooms with butlers.
Plan Your Holiday
However, before you finalize your travel plans, keep in mind that only a few liners offer embarkation and disembarkation ports without visas. Most of them are from cities in Europe and Asia and return airfare is not included in package costs. Even excursions packages on most liners can be customized to suit your demands. What are you waiting for, choose the ports, plan the holiday and freeze your Mediterranean cruise liner by booking online!
A Tip: Most Mediterranean ports and cities have a summer vacation in August, so if you want to avoid heavy crowds, plan your trip in before or after.