We simply accept so many things in life just as they are because that’s what we’ve seen/experienced. But being ourselves, shaking stuff up, and questioning everything and doing life our own way is so freeing and wonderful!
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I’m the oldest and all my cousins. My youngest brother’s 15 years younger than I am. The little baby of the family. He is a sharp one. Very intelligent, very observant, even as a child. And not just intelligent but also very sensible. He thinks things through and just doesn’t get moved by his emotions before he makes decisions.
When he was a kid, he was at our house for the summer holidays. He must have been about five or six. It was a middle of a weekday. I was ready to go wash my hair.
So I’d put oil on my head (I used to do that back then) and was sitting around waiting for a couple of hours to soak it all in. Then I was planning to go upstairs and wash my hair.
My brother looked at me and he was so surprised, this child.
Him: “you’re washing your hair today?”
Him: “But today’s not Sunday!”
It was adorable. It was so cute. See, the thing is, in all our families, the way we’ve grown up is, throughout the week, we’d go to school, etc., get on with our lives, and not wash our hair. And on every Sunday, when we were kids, they’d oil our hair, make us wait for a few hours, and then wash your head with shikakai or something natural. This was way before all of us started using shampoo, which was more convenient to use.
So this kid thought, because he’d been doing exactly that all his life… Every Sunday is when his mom would make him have a headbath… He thought Sunday is the only day you can have a headbath.
When he was like, “today’s on Sunday”, it took me only a moment to realise why he thought that and I started laughing. I pinched his cheeks and said, “aww Chinni, you don’t have to have headbath only on Sundays. You can wash your hair anytime you like. It’s okay.”
Just because that’s the way you’ve been doing things, doesn’t mean it’s the only way it can be done
There’s this other story. My husband and I had gone to pick up our nephew. We were taking him to our house for the weekend. He was really tiny. Maybe three or four years old. Oh god, adorable baby he was!
So on the way in the car, my husband was driving in front and both of us were sitting at the backseat for safety reasons. I know in India, kids are allowed to sit in front and whatnot, but we didn’t want to do that. So I sat at the backseat with them.
I was telling him all the fun things we’d be doing that weekend at home. And I told him, “as soon as we go home we’ll make some cookies.” And his little eyes just popped!
He was like, “make cookies?!” He was so surprised, because he thought cookies were things that came out of a packet, out of a box. And he never never in his little life had imagined that we could actually bake cookies right at home.
Now, these are kids and you know, as children, life is full of surprises We’re always learning something new, something interesting. Life is full of wonders.
But guess what? Even as adults, life is full of wonders!
We think certain things are just the way they are, simply because that’s what we’ve seen. That’s all we’ve seen. That’s all we believed. So we don’t even question that belief. We just assume this is the way it is.
Think about your life. About the way you work, the way you create, the way you do your day to day things. How many things do you do because you believe that’s just the way things are supposed to be done? Versus, doing things because you feel like doing them, the way you’d like to do them?
Or more importantly, how often have you forced yourself to do something simply because you believe that’s the way it’s supposed to be done? That’s the right way. That’s the only way.
Making reels on Instagram, for example. So many of my coaching clients, they come to me and they say, “I don’t like social media. I don’t like Instagram. I don’t like reels. But that’s what everyone’s doing. So that’s the only way to grow my business.
Nope! No, no, no.
Guess what? Just because it’s the norm, just because everybody else is doing it, or most others you see are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s the only way, doesn’t mean it’s the right way even.
Just because a bunch of people are doing something, doesn’t mean it’s efficient, effective. Doesn’t mean it’s what’s going to help your business.
The most important thing to consider when you’re marketing, when you’re building your brand, is how to be your true authentic self as much as you can
This doesn’t mean just showing how authentic you are on the outside to the world, but also being authentic to your own self.
If there’s a certain thing you don’t want to do, don’t push yourself way out of your comfort zone to do it. You know, if you don’t enjoy making rails and you’re making them, they’re gonna be crap! haha
They’re not gonna be nice, right? Because you’re doing it out of force. You’re doing it because you feel like, “this is the way things ought to be done, so I’m just doing it.”
When I ran my vegan restaurant, the way I handled the customers was very different from the way most people would
Not just customers, the whole entire community – my team, the collaborations that I did, everyone. The way I dealt with people, the way I interacted with people, was just me being fully myself. That’s it.
I’d go talk to people in a very friendly way and I’d connect with them. Sometimes, if I’m having a really good conversation and the guest who’s having the food is asking me to sit down with them, I just sit without hesitation. I don’t keep that perceived professional boundary when it’s not necessary to do so.
Same with my team. I’d be a boss, but I’d also be a friend. I learned the hard way how to balance discipline, expectation, getting them to do things and improve themselves, be good…with having fun, surprising them, chilling out, playing games with my team, that kind of stuff. We laughed a lot. We totally enjoyed ourselves.
Others who’d see me were surprised
Like, there was this guy who’d come to service the refrigerators. And he would often mention, “you aren’t like the other bosses. You actually are very cool with your team, and I haven’t seen that happen in the restaurant industry before.”
We had a customer. You know, I don’t even remember if this person was a friend first and a customer later a customer first and a friend later. Like, I don’t know whether I met them before my restaurant or after. I have so many friends like this. Haha
A new vegan restaurant had opened in town. It was run by another lady who was pretty awesome herself. And my friend-customer went to visit that restaurant. When she got home, she sent a text to me on Telegram saying, “You’ve spoiled Sus! When I went to this other place, I expected the lady there, the owner, to behave exactly the way you do with all of us. And she was just being a normal polite self and I felt disappointed. I was expecting her to be all friendly and chattery like you. Taking care of us truly like guests and not like customers.”
And all this is not something that I worked on, or I consciously built. So I wouldn’t even know how to teach people how to do that.
The only thing I can teach is to say, “be your true self”
Just be yourself. If you feel like doing things a certain way which is out of the normal way of doing that particular thing, don’t hesitate to do it if it calls to you, if it feels like you’re being your true self when you do it.
This applies to your business, dealing with your clients, customers, the kind of relationship you have/build with them. You be you. Decide what’s the balance of professional and personal. It’s up to you to figure that out.
And when it comes to branding, marketing, putting the message out there, you decide what it is you feel like writing, what you feel like sharing. Just because someone else is posting blatant marketing messages again and again and again and again, don’t feel threatened. Don’t feel that’s the way the world works.
If you feel like sharing something else, something of value, if you feel like being vulnerable, if you feel like sharing your stories, or talking about your team or the people you work with, whatever you feel like, you do it and forget about the norm.
Don’t limit yourself, because you know, Sunday isn’t the only day you can wash your hair. Haha You can do it anytime!
I have some homework for you today.
I want you to sit down and question a few things in your life
Question everything. When you’re doing something, when you’re making decisions, or even just following your day to day schedule, how much of it are you doing because that’s just who you are, and it’s the right way to do it for you? And how much of it are you doing because you’ve just accepted that that’s the way to be, that’s the way to do things.
The simplest example I can give you is how you wake up. People believe they need to have an alarm and rush into starting their day early, just because it’s done that way. It’s expected out of you. But do you really need to do that? Ask yourself that. That’s just one example of things.
Another is, keeping your notifications on and responding to people immediately. You may be doing something on your phone or something else, but then, just because a notification pops up you feel obligated to respond immediately. Do you need to do that?
You probably do that because you feel like somebody’s expecting you to respond immediately, right?
But maybe you don’t have to, maybe you can put things off for a little later. Nothing’s gonna happen, right?
You’re not a doctor. Nobody’s dying or suffering because you’re not responding. Unless you are a doctor, then jump on that emergency! But also take care of yourself. Haha But if you aren’t, is there an emergency? Where are you projecting an emergency where it doesn’t exist?
So question everything. Just go through your typical day, from the morning to the night, and see how many things you’re doing simply because you’re like, “this is the way it’s done.”
Then ask yourself if you’d like to change things, first of all. And if you do, how it’s possible. It’ll be amazing, the wonders, the hidden the possibilities that come out.
So many creative, interesting possibilities show up when we question things, when we question everything
Do this, have fun, and let me know your takeaways. What did you learn, when you tried out this exercise, just contemplating for a while?
Drop me a short voice message https://www.speakpipe.com/veganosaurus about your takeaway from this episode, or even any of your other favourite episodes. I’d love to hear from you. I might even put your voice not on one of the podcast episodes. Wouldn’t that be fun? Haha
That’s it for today. Take care. Talk to you again next week.
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“I’m a Spiritual Vegan Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur. I read voraciously, find humour in most things, and believe kindness and authenticity can make this world a happier, loving place.
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