10 more sleeps

I’ve been thinking of a way to start my post in a positive way but words (and thoughts) aren’t helping me, even amidst the festive cheer. To some, this countdown may seem double what they would’ve expected but this clearly isn’t towards Christmas. Rather, this is an eagerly awaited departure for 2016 – most likely a historic year and not for all the good reasons.

Looking back at it, I just cannot believe what the world has gone through this year and the tumultuous reign this year has had over all good fortunes which were wished when we embarked upon this year. Right from geopolitical crises to ‘populist’ movements to politics being turned on its head to Europe facing acute challenges (security, economic and political), 2016 has had it all. And we have probably witnessed a stream of activity we all wished we hadn’t.

What wish can we make for 2017? Well, for starters, anything could be better than 2016. But is that really true? I don’t know if we’ve either seen the worst or have become immune to the multitude of awful things which we’ve encountered. Whatever it may be, my hope for 2017 is that humanity prevails and world order is restored. The deaths, killings and sufferings need to stop. The uncertainties of the world today are not helping anything – trade, politics, economics, happiness. Happiness, because the sense of insecurity that exists in societies today isn’t a breeding ground for healthy living.

Even if it was a year for some to rejoice given how politics is being reshaped in the West, the consequences of this movement are still to be witnessed. So here’s my second wish, which is that I hope that all the rhetoric of this new political class is just that, rhetoric, and that it doesn’t become reality. Prosperity was never achieved by being exclusive. Nationalism and protectionism isn’t the way forward in a truly global world and now, more than ever, the world needs to come together to heal. There are more pressing problems than us rejecting people and globalisation.

I dream of a 2017 which gives us cause for joy and happiness. It is only after 2016 do I know how much even smaller things in life could give you inner peace. There are so many more things I want to write and so many more wants and wishes and hopes, but I think if 2017 can make the world a better place than it is right now, I will be happy.

My various conundrums – and myths

As a number of management consultants may feel, I also think that I don’t have enough hours in the day to manage both my personal (and social) and work life. Work life balance, or work life quality as its increasingly referred to now, is hard to achieve but not impossible. My work place has started placing a strong emphasis on this measure of a consultant’s life – which has been gratefully welcomed.

However, I have grown up in an environment where I always found myself working extremely hard (sometimes more than 15 hours a day) and somehow this started to feel ‘normal’ to me. Thankfully, the various career progressions I’ve had over the last few years mean that I don’t have to put in as much time now, but I still find myself starting at 6am and not knowing what time I’ll actually finish.

As a result, I have found it hard to accomplish what I want to on a personal side. This mainly refers to keeping fit and healthy. My health has taken a serious beating over the last few years – I used to pride myself with not getting sick at all vs. catching cold or something else every now and then in my current shape. My body needs a bit of TLC but I struggle to find time for it (or try hard to make time).

I’ve been reading a number of interesting articles on time management and personal blogs of successful leaders and executives who make it a habit to look after themselves. Even in my office, I see a number of my colleagues running / cycling to work or taking the time in the afternoon to do so – which has given me some inspiration. Increasingly also there is a greater amount of quality content out there which talks about making the most of the short amount of time available to you to get yourself in shape and become active.

My conundrum still is making time for ‘myself’ and ensuring that I have a longer and healthier career. I think I have to cull the myth that the only way to be successful is working 15-16 hours a day – there are a number of successful people who manage time much more efficiently. I have to take some learnings. Management consultants also need to consult themselves on sustainability and growth – of their own lives.