Feedforward : A Tool for Self-Awareness


Treat every piece of advice as a gift or a compliment and simply say, “Thank you.”

~ Marshall Goldsmith

I delivered a presentation today to a group of 40 people. The topic was leadership development in teams and the importance of feedback for behavioral changes. I did a 30-minute session on ‘Feedforward’ and took these 40 people through this exercise. Marshall Goldsmith is the pioneer of this idea and he has written several articles on this (this idea is also illustrated well in his book ‘What got you here, won’t get you there’). The audience loved the exercise and it was fascinating to see people immersed in this activity for 30-minutes without any interruption.


I will quickly summarize the steps involved in this exercise

  • Pick one behavior that you would like to change
  • Describe the objective in a 1:1 dialogue
  • Ask 2 suggestions from the other person
  • Listen attentively / Take Notes and just say ‘Thank You’ / ‘You’re Welcome’
  • Find the next person in the room and repeat the above steps (take the same behavior with the next person)

Continue this for 20/30-minutes, no one is allowed to justify, challenge or interrupt when your partner is giving 2 suggestions. You are only allowed to say ‘Thank You’ and the other person will say ‘You’re Welcome’ and then move on to the next person in the room 🙂

At the end I asked the participants to share their learning, here is what they said.

  1. It was nice to hear multiple suggestions on the same topic
  2. We were eager to hear as there was no discussion of the past events
  3. It was very difficult to give 2 specific suggestions, we ran out of ideas J
  4. It was fascinating to hear the common behavioral topics people brought, we are all alike

I recommend you to try this in your team events or trainings. It’s a great activity for team bonding and elevating self-awareness.

For more details, please visit the below link.


PS : I acknowledge the pictures from the internet.

Pain and Pleasure : The Ultimate Driving Forces


The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure to use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. ~ Tony Robbins

I love the above quote from Tony Robbins. All of us take action – either to seek pleasure or to avoid pain! Sometimes avoiding the pain will drive us more than seeking pleasure!

My friend Arun (certainly not the original name, the focus is on lesson not the person) attended my workshop ‘Present to Impact’ in 2009 to improve his public speaking skills. During the program it was evident that he needed to focus on polishing his grammar and articulation skills. He learnt many other techniques to deliver an impactful talk, however his language needed a makeover to make his talk sound professional.

I recommended him to read books listen to audio books and attend weekend classes to enhance English language. You guessed it right; he did nothing to improve his known area of weakness. I was nonchalant, as I knew he didn’t have enough pain or pleasure to take action back then.

After 5 years, one day he called me on a Sunday evening to talk about his latest focus area of improvement. He has joined a professional English speaking course and attending weekend classes for the next 4 months to add professional touch to his presentation. Arun is investing 10 hours each weekend towards this course.

What changed???? What was the catalyst that inspired (or forced) him to take action? … Well, the pain of not changing was so high… he had to budge!


Arun works as a Project Consultant in a multi-national IT company and he is now leading a team of consultants. He is currently working with US clients and few of them have given him candid feedback on his language skills in the recent 360-degree review. Needless to say his manager added this to his goal for 2014-15 appraisals! In addition to this, he now leads a team, wants to gain their respect and lead by example. I am glad he is working on it now. I admire his courage to go back to weekend classes (he is 45 now) at this age where most of his classmates are half his age.

We all can learn a great lesson from this episode. Let’s use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure to use us. That’s the secret of success, fulfillment and a purposeful life!


PS : I acknowledge the pictures from the internet.

Two Powerful Questions for Self-Awareness



Analysis may entertain. Application rewards. ~ Richard Bandler

Magic in Action

I have been reading a few books authored by Richard Bandler (the co-founder of Neuro-Linguistic Programming). The latest one I read is ‘Magic in Action’. This book has a few verbatim transcripts of Richard’s therapy sessions with his clients who wanted to get rid of some sort of phobia or terrible fears. I love Richard’s uncanny ability to inject humor in his conversations with clients and build instant rapport with them. He makes the change appear so simple and easy! Richard cures a decade-old phobia in less than 45 minutes :). I strongly recommend you to read his books to know more and understand his work on NLP (along with John Grinder).

In all his conversations with clients, two questions prominently show up. He doesn’t use the exact words mentioned below (they are skinnier versions based on my understanding).

Question #1 : What do you want?

When the client is continuously talking about her fears and limiting beliefs and how terribly she is crippled to do something or stop some bad habit. Richard listens for a while and then asks this question, ‘what do you want?’. This is a powerful question to ask the client and it will force the client to now think about what she wants (instead of ruminating on what she doesn’t want). In a way he is asking his clients to think and imagine the life after they have overcome their issues.


Question #2 : What is stopping you?

This is an insightful question. To answer this question – the client has to think what or who is stopping her to behave in a desired way. Instead of putting the control outside her, now she has to find the control within her. Richard elicits visual, kinesthetic and auditory sub-modalities to represent her experience in her mind.

I have found these two questions very handy in elevating my self-awareness on a day-to-day basis. When I feel like missing my workout today, I ask these questions in my mind and know the right step to take. Even if I justify missing the workout, at least I know it’s a conscious decision and I am responsible for it! I don’t need to blame the weather or something else to feel good 🙂

You can checkout other books written by Richard Bandler and John Grinder on NLP on my website – it’s a fascinating field of personal change and knowing how we process information.


PS : I acknowledge the pictures from the internet.

Two Profound Questions


I envy people who have faith; I just can’t get my head around it. ~ Edward Cole

                                                  The Bucket List

I have watched the Hollywood movie ‘The Bucket List’ (starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) more than 10 times so far. It’s a movie that entertains and inspires the viewers. One of the best scenes I like is their visit to the Egypt to see Pyramids (the first item on their list – witness something truly majestic).

Carter (Morgan Freeman) narrates the ancient Egyptian belief to Edward (Jack Nicholson). According to their belief, when people die and go to heaven, they have answer two questions. Their answers are crucial as the entry into heaven is based on those answers J

Here are the two questions:


Question#1 – Have you found joy in your life?


Question#2 – Has your life brought joy to others?

On a superficial and cursory glance, these questions don’t make much sense. As we ponder over it and deeply probe our minds, we will realize the profundity of these questions. I also found that these two can be leveraged in coaching sessions to heighten the self-awareness of clients. I personally have used these questions to know more about myself 🙂

So try it and experience it for yourself! Go to a room and sit all alone – ask these two questions several times and see what response you get from your inner self.


PS : I acknowledge the pictures from the internet.

The Compound Effect


Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He, who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t…pays it. ~ Albert Einstein

A couple of my ex-colleagues happen to visit my website this week and they were fascinated to see the contents and the (fairly) rich choice of words used in pages. I had to convince them that I wrote those paragraphs J (you can imagine the reputation I built 10 years ago). I can understand their reasons to doubt my vocabulary. Ten years ago, I had very limited tools in my vocabulary to articulate ideas in presentations and speeches. You might be wondering what changed in the last 10 years. I will tell you my secret – “I am leveraging the power of compound effect”.

In 2003, I decided to enhance my vocabulary and started learning one new word a day from the site www.dictionary.com . I became inquisitive about words and started listing the new words I encountered in books, articles, movies and conversations with others at work. In addition to that I regularly attended Toastmasters meetings at my workplace every Thursday afternoon. I inculcated ‘the word of the day’ from Toastmasters sessions as soon as the session was over.

The following books have added powerful words to my library of words.

  • Word Master Audio CD by Denis Waitely
  • Word Power by Norman Lewis
  • The Articulate Professional by VJ Singhal
  • Six Weeks to Words of Power by Wilfred Funk
  • 30 days to a more powerful vocabulary

Looking back now, I feel very proud and content about my achievement in developing a refined vocabulary. One word a day wasn’t a big thing to learn, the discipline to do it every day and stick to the learning process was the challenging part of the process.

                               We overestimate our short-term goals, underestimate long-term goals.

The Compounding effect is a powerful principle and we need to make this effect work in favor of us, not work against us J

The following two books really inspired me to subscribe to the power of daily discipline and achieving success in small increments every day! I strongly recommend you to read these two books.

 The Slight Edge      Compund Effect Book


PS : I acknowledge the pictures from the internet.

Birds of a feather flock together



People like people who like them OR who are like them.

I met a Homeopath in a workshop last week. I had a book in my hand ‘The Journey’ written by Brandon Bays to read during the breaks. She saw the book in my hand and ran towards me during the break to talk to me. I could sense her excitement in her voice and demeanor. She said, “I have the same book in my library and I loved reading that book”. We had two things in common; the habit of reading and the book by Brandon Bays. We talked for 10 minutes as if we knew each other for ages.

I pondered over that episode and realized that when people have a common interest they instantly get into unconscious rapport and like each other. This may not happen in all cases. We have another possibility- ‘people like people who like them’. In other words, if I like someone they like me.

What we can do is find one thing that is good in the other person and genuinely appreciate it. Once the other person knows that you like some aspect in them, they reciprocate and they start liking you.

I have tried this in my interactions and it has worked for me. Initially it was very unnatural for me focus and amplify good qualities in others. After a few weeks on conscious effort, it became a habit and I was doing it naturally.

                              Be the change you want to see in the world. ~ Gandhi


Let me remind you, the change begins with us 🙂 so let’s initiate the change!



 PS : I acknowledge the picture from the internet.



Begin with the end in mind


Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. ~ Japanese Proverb

My long-time dream has come true this week, my personal website is launched and hosted now J It was a herculean task to write the content and find appropriate images. The designer invested more than 6 weeks to design all the pages and now he is hosting one page a day (we decided to go live in a staggered manner, than big-bang). What’s astonishing is this – the designer invested more than 45 days in designing pages in Photoshop software; and less than 10 days in coding the pages ad hosting them. He went to coding, only when I reviewed the images of mock pages and gave my sign-off. We went through several iterations of changes in design during the first few weeks.

Since we invested sufficient time in planning and creating the end pictures on images, we had to invest very little time for developing the pages and hosting them.

When you get a chance, please visit the page www.pramodavyasarao.com and review our work!

This 6-week journey reminded me of the cardinal principle of life – ‘Know what you want’ or ‘Begin with the end in mind’. Once we are clear about the destination, we get inspired to take action and do something every day to go closer to what we want. Clarity brings sense of urgency!

What if we all have a picture that describes our lives in next 20 years? That’s not easy; our minds will not allow us to think of definite desires (especially long-term goals). I have personally gone through coaching sessions and it’s very difficult to write a list of what you ‘really’ want in life. I listed a few things for the next 10 years and currently working to make them a reality. One of them was my personal website, and now it’s a reality J

PS : I acknowledge the picture from the internet.

Ask and you shall receive


Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. ~ The Bible

I was in a training program today at a hotel and they asked me to pay for using the wi-fi service at the venue. Usually in hotels the guest speaker or trainer gets a complementary coupon to use the wi-fi facility. The banquet manager said, ‘we always charge, no exceptions’. I politely asked him to consider my request as we were giving a significant business to him that day. He took a few minutes and agreed to waive off INR 1000/- from the total bill amount!

That’s a great personal victory to me! I just reflected on my past and I realized that a few years ago I wouldn’t have pursued such matters and asked with earnestness. I felt asking has no use, especially when I get a NO – it made me feel awful. To avoid that feeling, I avoided asking 🙂 I said NO to myself before the other person.

I wondered – what changed in these years ? Suddenly I got the picture of this book from Jack Canfield I read called ‘ The Success Principles’. Canfield talks about ‘The Power of Asking’ and he recommends the following steps when it comes to asking for what you need (I have added my interpretation).

                                                  Success Principles

  1. Ask the right person – who has the authority to take decisions
  2. Ask with the attitude that you have the ‘right’ to ask
  3. Ask with the expectation that you will get what you asked for
  4. Genuinely ‘Thank’ the other person when he says YES
  5. Accept and relax when the other person says NO

These steps had become my unconscious habits after attempting some of these steps separately over a few years. That’s what I say to people – when it comes to personal development you never know what book can help change your behaviors. Read and Grow Rich!

                                           Keep asking and you will get what you want!

The Power of Desire


Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything. ~ Napoleon Hill

I was in a training recently and I met this young lady from Nagpur named Geetika (name unchanged, as I really admire her and want to show my appreciation to her). Geetika has a post-graduate degree in finance and working in a training organization. She invested her 2-year savings for attending this 6-day workshop in Bangalore! She had planned it properly and flew to Bangalore exclusively for this program. Her father was reluctant to send her, it took her 3-months to convince him and get his agreement. Geetika stayed in a family friends’ house (a friend of a friend of a far relative) as agreed with her father.

She hired a cab every day to come to the training location, which was around 20 Kilometers from her family friend’s place. Geetika had a great time at this workshop and was hungry to learn and absorb information like a sponge.

When I listened to her story, I was inspired by her desire, planning and the ability to take action on her dreams. It reminds of the quote – ‘when the WHY is big enough, HOW doesn’t matter’.

It’s all a matter of knowing what we want, and doing something to get there! That’s the secret to success.

I dedicate this article to Geetika for reminding me the power of desire and the power of acting on your desires. Thanks Geetika! I truly admire your courage to act.


Pearls of Wisdom from Kung Fu Panda


There is no charge for awesomeness or attractiveness. ~ Po

Watching the movie “Kung Fu Panda” has become a family activity for us in the last 3 weeks. We have watched this movie at least 10 times now 🙂 and my son Samyak loves the big, flabby and funny panda.

Each time I watch this movie, I get enamored with timeless wisdom in some of the lines spoken by the characters. In this post, I have enumerated few of my favorite quotes.

“Nothing is impossible”

“One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it”

“There are no accidents”

“Your mind is like water, when it gets agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear”

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present””

“To make something special, you just have to believe it’s special”

“There is just news. There is no good or bad”