Beauty in diversity

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The diversity of the phenomena of nature is so great and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment - Johannes Kepler

Walking in the garden I was marveling at nature’s miracle in creating different color flowers, leaves and butterflies. There are trees for shade and grass to lie down, gentle breeze and fragrance all around. The sound of birds chirping and rustle of leaves is calming and the smell of the mud after the first rain shower is invigorating. I can spend hours just observing, enjoying and learning from nature. The attention to detail and the level of diversity is astounding.

I am humbled just looking in awe at the possible variety that I see around. And there is so much more underwater and in other parts of the earth and universe that is beyond description.

Similarly, there is amazing diversity in human beings. Each person is different from another. Every person’s thinking, emotions, circumstances, physical attributes, skills, personality are different. Even twins may share the same physical features but are often different personalities. I am passionate about coaching because every inter-action with is unique and unpredictable.

Recently, I was asked why are people so emotional. I believe we are able to enjoy the world and learn only when there are different perspectives, passions, beliefs, desires and intelligences. Our emotions keep us engaged in the world and keep the cycle of life going through relationships. After all, we enjoy a book or a movie that has thrill, action, drama, comedy, romance or suspense. Documentaries keep us enthralled to the point of learning something new that may trigger an inspiration or address a passion.

I remember during school days, our class was shuffled regularly. We no doubt groaned about the change, however, it enabled us to learn to make new friends, stretched our ability to get along with different personalities and made us adaptable. We gravitate towards people who think alike. This limits our flexibility to stretch to communicate with people from different backgrounds.

I have been part of a group for the last few years, where the mantra is diversity. I had got so used to being around a certain type of people that I found it difficult to communicate effectively. With time, I realized that I had stopped using the power of observation and appreciation and was resisting the stretch. It has been a phenomenal experience. Now, I enjoy being with the group and have learnt to look at people from their lens. To observe, I had to remain silent and in that silence I was able to see people for their goodness, see their dreams and their humanness. As I sat back and listened, I was also able to see myself because I started learning to pause before speaking. To be understood, I first had to learn to understand.

When we interact with nature, we have to silently observe to study the behavior pattern. My family is very passionate about wildlife photography and to get a good picture they need to sit quietly for hours and be in tune with the animals. Capturing a unique or perfect photograph requires patience and the ability to be present in the moment. The play of light and the colours of trees and grass need to be balanced with the animal. One is able to do so only when there is true appreciation and joy for the beauty in diversity.

Testimonials

Knowing and working with Ashu has been a personally and professionally enriching experience. Her worldview has a deep philosophical underpinning and is informed by clarity of thought and tempered by strong sense of honesty, compassion and generosity. Ashu has the desire and the ability to make a difference.

Mr. Jaideep Khanna

CEO & Country Head India, Investment & Corporate Bank, Barclays Capital India

Ashu has worked as a coach with my team on a few occasions to help improve teamwork and team dynamics. Working with a group of type A investment bankers can be pretty tough. Ashu was able to draw out the team to share their views openly in a constructive manner.

Mr. V Anantharaman

MD & Regional Head - Origination and Client Coverage & Co-Head - Wholesale Banking, South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank

I find that Ashu has a knack for cutting to the heart of the matter, no matter how complicated it may be. Her direct approach towards stating the issues up front, and then exploring solutions works very well in a business environment, where time is short and issues are complex.

Mr. Ashok Bajpai

Regional Director, Essar Steel

I have known and worked with Ashu Khanna for a number of years on various programs and have found her to be a very effective coach and trainer. Her programs on leadership and Branding are particularly of high order and clubbed with her unique individual style have proven to be quite impactful.

Mr. Awdhesh Krishna

Global Head - HR, Nomura India

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"Don't shout" is a commonly used hypocritical statements by a parent to a child. When the command is barked, the child is confused because the parent is expecting contrarian behavior from the child. I too have 'shouted' these words several times and now I laugh at my folly because the words and action never matched. I wonder, was I telling my child or myself to be calm.

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