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Compassion: The Original Performance Enhancing Substance

By Vega Subramaniam

Two of Mala’s three core values are Compassion and Conscientiousness (the third being Courage, because Mala can only have sets that begin with the same first letter…or fashion themselves into convenient acronyms. Ask me sometime about her … Read More

[Insert Meaningless Title Here]: Why Job Titles Do Not Equal Your Destiny

By Vega Subramaniam

Titles: who needs ’em?

Perhaps you are in a professional rut. As a coach, I often come across people in this position, and I’ve certainly been there myself. Whether it’s because you no longer want to do … Read More

1980s. Gaithersburg. Indelible in the hippocampus.

By Mala Nagarajan

All of a sudden. Rockville. Gaithersburg. 1980s. In the news. It’s all too close to home.

I grew up in Gaithersburg and Rockville. My two sisters graduated from Seneca Valley High School in 1979 and 1983. I … Read More

So Many Jobs, So Few Lives

By Vega Subramaniam

I have many more lives left to go. As in, “in one of my next lives, I’m going to be…” a lexicographer, librarian, astronomer, world literature professor, ancient Greek historian, craft store owner, violinist.

There are a … Read More

GROW and POMP Your Way to Greater Serenity

By Vega Subramaniam

Last week, I shared some of my struggles around—and possible ways to deal with—heavy, demoralizing, overwhelming tasks. And I promised to come back this week with a couple tools that Mala and I have been mucking around … Read More

31 Aug '18

3 Comments

Overwhelmed but Still in the Game

By Vega Subramaniam

There are times when I open up my email, and I just want to crawl under the covers and turn it all off. And mind you, I say this as an “Inbox-50” kinda gal. In other words, … Read More

Rebounding from Failure the Counterfactual Way

By Vega Subramaniam

When things go wrong, what questions swirl in your mind?

Perhaps these sound familiar:

  • “How did I let this happen again?”
  • “When will I ever learn?”
  • “Why do I keep doing this?
  • Read More

Our Professional Strengths and Their Long, Dark Shadows

By Vega Subramaniam

I spend a lot of my waking hours thinking about, if not in actual conversation with people about, career transitions. And when I say ‘career transitions,’ I mean in a big way. Breaking from the well-trodden course … Read More

It’s February, and I’m still not exercising every week

By Vega Subramaniam

It’s mid-February. Would you look at that.

Mid-February, and already I’m not exercising every week (or ever). I haven’t finished my crochet project. To be sure, I did register for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (priorities, people!), but I … Read More

Honoring Our Intent (…to Achieve Our Aspirations)

By Vega Subramaniam

I was talking to my friend Janeen a couple weeks ago about the fact that Mala and I are taking a month right now of what I’m ostentatiously calling a “sabbatical.” We are on a mission to … Read More

As the Holidays Descend Upon Us…

By Vega Subramaniam

Ah, the holiday season. What is it about this time of year that I find so…unnecessary?

I kid.

I am sure there are people out there who have an uncomplicated, wholly joyous relationship to the holiday season. … Read More

When ‘Positivity’ Is Positively Furious

By Vega Subramaniam

I’m a born Pollyanna. As friends used to say, “Of course you’d stand up for [insert annoying colleague who did a stupid thing]; you never say anything mean about anybody.”

Fair enough. But it’s been … Read More

You Tell ME: Why DO You Always Do This To Yourself?

By Vega Subramaniam

There are certain questions I hear people ask themselves out loud a lot:

“Why do I always let the mail pile up like this?!” “Why can’t I ever get anything done on time?!” “Why do I … Read More

Of Brains, Databases, and Self-Affirmation

By Vega Subramaniam

What we want, a lot of us, is to face life with confidence and contentment, and to make a difference.

A requirement of building confidence and contentment, if I may posit, is maintaining an accurate inventory … Read More

Decision-Making, Activism, and Charlottesville

By Mala Nagarajan

Honestly, the last time I thought deeply about Charlottesville was in the early 1980s, when the 7-foot-4-inch phenom Ralph Simpson was leading the University of Virginia Cavaliers into the NCAA’s Collegiate Men’s Basketball Tournament (aka March Madness). … Read More

04 Jul '17

2 Comments

Embracing Your Winding Path

I turned 52 last weekend. One full deck of cards. As I begin my 53rd year, I get to open up a brand-new deck.

On one hand, I have a new chance to choose how I play the hand … Read More

03 Mar '17

2 Comments

Optimism is a Form of Resistance

By Vega Subramaniam

My friend Ericka said that to me the other day: “Optimism is a form of resistance.” And it occurred to me just how impossible it feels to be pessimistic right now. My entire being would reject … Read More

The Person I Could Have Been

By Vega Subramaniam

This is for all of you who are filled with regret about choices you made, paths you took, your foolishness, your failures.

Some of you may have heard that the definition of hell is, on your last … Read More

The Human Right to Have Fun

By Vega Subramaniam

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about leisure. We’re witnessing, not to mention experiencing, lots of of anger, rage, activist analysis…all those things that we both take for granted and applaud as righteous. But it’s also true … Read More

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In a time like none other…

By Mala Nagarajan

In a time like none other for most of us, the injustice is staggering: the presidential election undermined; state legislatures eviscerating democracy through voter suppression and gerrymandering; government agencies meant to protect and serve us (EPA, Education, FDA…) … Read More

09 Dec '16

1 Comment

It’s All Skill Development

By Vega Subramaniam

It’s All Skill Development

“Of course you’re creative” (or “a leader” or “talented”). “You just need to change your attitude. Don’t be so negative.” “You’re too insecure. You should have more self-esteem.”

All things … Read More

Post-Election Reflections, Strategies, and Priorities

By Mala Nagarajan

Nearing four weeks after the 2016 election, and many of us are still angered, shocked, and disappointed. Some of us are still dealing with our reaction and emotions – immobilized like a deer in headlights, depressed like … Read More

What Just Happened?

By Vega Subramaniam

Well. Here we are.

As a youth, I was clear that I was a citizen of the world. Political boundaries were irrelevant. I held that clarity while also acknowledging that I was an American and that this … Read More

02 Jun '16

4 Comments

Changing a Habit is Hard! And How to Do It Anyway

By Vega Subramaniam

I just read Gretchen Rubin’s “4 Strategies to Change Your Habits that Actually Work” on Fast Company. And yes, the suggestions she offers would support your habit change — using a clean slate as an opportunity to break … Read More

How to Overcome Your Decision-Making Hurdles: Part Three (The Finale)

By Vega Subramaniam

In Part One of ‘How to Overcome Your Decision-Making Hurdles,’ we reflected on the stories we each have about our own decision-making glitches. We observed that for some of us, even thinking about good decision-making is … Read More

How to Overcome Your Decision-Making Hurdles: Part Two

By Vega Subramaniam

In ‘How to Overcome Your Decision-Making Hurdles: Part One’, we reflected on the stories we each have about our own decision-making glitches. We observed that for some of us, even thinking about good decision-making is “this-is-making-me-feel-terrible-about-myself” … Read More

How to Overcome Your Decision-Making Hurdles: Part One

By Vega Subramaniam

Decision making is hard

Mala and I had the pleasure of spending a couple hours recently with some Intentional Life Planning participants during our follow-up session on decision-making.

We came to talk about what helps us make good … Read More

The Autumn That Could Be

By Vega Subramaniam

Last week’s New York Times article The Summer That Never Was got me to wondering how common author Tim Kreider’s experience is: his sense of foreboding and gloom, lost opportunities and lost time as autumn approaches. … Read More

How to hire a contractor for your organization’s everyday work

By Mala Nagarajan

As a nonprofit leader in need of staff, you may be tempted to hire a contractor (aka consultant) to fill a vacancy. Maybe you think it’ll be easier to get rid of the person if it doesn’t … Read More

Autumnal Equinox: A Time for Rejuvenation

By Vega Subramaniam

The onset of autumn always fills me with a sense of anticipation. I have a visceral response to the changes in the air that come with the start of the academic year. I was one of the … Read More

A True North: Building A Map to The Life You Want to Live

By Mala Nagarajan

When Vega or I tell people that we’ve held our own personal strategic planning retreat every year for the past 12 years, we’re apt to get curious, astonished looks. And as often as not, we’re asked what … Read More

The Secret Connection Between Self-Sabotage and Self-Determination

By Vega Subramaniam

…and what does this have to do with habit change?

Recently, I decided that I want to eat more vegetables. Actually, I want my meals to be vegetable-dominant. This is a new thing. For most of my … Read More

Environmental Scan

By Mala Nagarajan

Record-breaking winter weather. An impending financial crisis. An economic boom.

How would your organization be affected? Are you ready?

Conditions outside your organization can make (or break) you. One systematic way of preparing for pivotal events … Read More

Welcome to our blog!

Glad you found us. We want to help you and your organization promote a healthy workplace culture and strong teams.

Mala tends to write about what she stays up at night thinking about: human resources, operations, and technology. Her conversations are with … Read More