Outside-in is out, inside-out is in

Outside-in is out, inside-out is in

Where are those postmen who would come knocking on the door to deliver letters, parcels or even money orders? Where are those STD booths outside which one would see men and women waiting to make long distance calls to their near and dear ones? Where are those printing ‘press’ (so called because of the letter press technology that was used) doing brisk business printing books and journals?

Just like businesses and occupations of yesterday have gone extinct, one wouldn’t be surprised to see the ones of today disappearing in future. E-commerce and related disinter-mediation of trade is fast reducing foot falls in not only in corner grocery shorts but also super marts. The luxury of sitting in a book shop lazily flipping through pages of books is becoming a thing of past. With SMAC and internet-of-things fast making people redundant, it will not be long before when many of us will not only be out of jobs but won’t perhaps have another to make a living. We can watch out for popular use of self-driving vehicles with taxi and truck drivers, being replaced by machines that are super accurate, reliable and don’t need to rest. That’ll be another huge segment of the population that’s been put out of work (5.7 million truck drivers alone according to some Washington Post article from 2013). Similar automation in software development and testing is also threatening to drastically cut down opportunities for one of the most glorified occupation – that of software developers and testers.

So where are things going? What are you going get ready for, if you are to consider future employment and entrepreneurial opportunities? Watch the millennials. They will give you a clue. Much of what is being said about them from a generational perspective is actually being caused by a shift in consciousness, worldwide, which the younger generations are quicker to intercept and respond to than their seniors. Notice how they, before taking up a job, try and understand if there’s a ‘kick’ in it for them. Yes, they are making choices – not based on immediate survival needs but based on what they are passionate about. Recently I heard a senior people manager in one of India’s most admired bio-tech company saying that the current generation actually wants to know what’s the company’s mission and vision and whether it’s living it in its day-to-day operation and how.

The other aspect that’s emerging fast is the need for flexibility and freedom. Many of my Linked In connections, I notice, have in the last two years left their jobs and started on their own. Presumably, by choice. Some have become entrepreneurs while others have launched themselves as independent coaches and consultants. However, what’s still not very clear is whether in search of free (lance) dom they are pursuing their passion and purpose to create a new reality or following the herd, being influenced by get-rich-quick formula of entrepreneurship. Not realizing that the glory and glamour of multi-billion dollar stories of entrepreneurial success is just the tip of the ice berg, the water line hiding many a struggling, stressed and even suicidal start-up. From frying pan to fire?

I saw this scenario coming, well ahead of its time, more than ten years back. It happened when a couple of hundred laid off executives had their representative approach me for jobs for them. While my immediate reaction would have been to ask for their CVs and refer them to a good network of industry colleagues I still had, having very recently stepped out of employment to be on my own. Instead, I held myself back to ask myself hard questions:

  • How happy and secure is an individual in a job that he or she lands for the sake of survival? Does he really feel empowered to give out his best and thus create value for his employer or is it another nine-to-five chore, with deep-seated apprehensions of being thrown out any day, carefully hidden under the gossamer of a swanky lifestyle, churning out mediocrity, at best?
  • Why is the entire process so outside in – more driven by opportunities visible right now (which may disappear tomorrow) than more enduring abilities and potentials innate in every individual, to create new opportunities which can be game changers and not only address dormant needs but also address existing needs in more innovative ways?
  • What can make individuals choose what they want to do in life – not just to make a living but to live? What, after all, could be that one fundamental reason for them to have arrived on the face of this earth and what happens when they get to know it and choose to be driven by it, in their professional pursuits?

In the year 2002, in my endeavor to get to the answers to these questions, I got together a group of individuals, struggling to find for themselves meaningful means of livelihood and facilitated them through a process of exploration in depths and heights. I got them to see through the illusion of their self-imposed sense of powerlessness and worthlessness and discover The Power Within. They cringed and celebrated, cried and laughed, held back and unleashed their awesomeness, through the intense process of discovery. Each one of them came out with what I call as Potential Maps – the DNA of their unique creative selves – the essence of Man (a God in swaddling bands). Using the Po Map as the base, they were provoked to create imageries of the preferred future and road maps to reach there. It was, like in a recent ad of Thums Up. Each of the bottles got uncorked to let loose the storm whipped up within. Each of the participants, now pegged to their potentials, went back holding their cherished dreams snuggled deep inside their hearts, till they were fulfilled.

They made choices. They found freedom. And most importantly they created for themselves purposeful spaces that could not only get them their livelihood abut also keep them alive and evolving, all the time. Be it a new job, starting up a new business or launching as a professional, most of them have been able to live their dream reality. It may have taken a little extra time or some diversion but they are living it all as they dreamt.

For me The Power Within became my chosen space of joy and meaningfulness. It became a regular feature as a public program gifting, till date, close to 1000 individuals – business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals managers seeking redemption from their stagnated careers and even students – with a knowing of who they really are. It also became the engine for most conscious leadership development programs that I enable, not only empowering the 5000 odd leaders (whose lives I have touched / transformed till date) with the true the true power that lies within, but also getting them equipped with the knowledge and tools with which they could help their team members to discover their awesomeness.

Much later, somewhere around 2009, I realized it was not enough to enable discovery of The Power Within and leave the individuals to carve their destiny. The force of the environment around, pulling them back to their lesser selves was often too overwhelming for the individuals to resist getting pulled back and settle down for a life of surviving somehow. That’s when I launched my practice of Transformational Coaching, through which I not only enable personal discoveries but also bring about alchemy of sorts in the individual’s mindset which helps her pave her own journey unto her destiny, without getting distracted or pulled back. There are some, who I am still associated with as mentors, seeing them through their process of blossoming with their own enterprise. They dare to be different and remain firmly anchored to their calling as they continue to fend off with conviction the call of an authority-driven, threatened and fear-led world.

(This was first published in Linked In as a Pulse article and can be visited at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/outside-in-out-inside-out-indroneil-mukerjee)

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