Welcome to the Deploy Yourself Newsletter. Every two weeks I share what impactful leadership looks like to show your own power. I also share the most insightful lessons and stories I encountered in the last two weeks. You can also read this issue online.


When Will You Do What Makes You Happy?

When I ask the question “Are you happy?” at work or with my leadership coaching clients, I often get a blank look. People don’t understand the context of this question – especially at work. And that is where I am left the most surprised.

Everyone I interact with wants success, productivity, engagement, and motivation – but people are often blind about happiness. They think happiness is a price they have to pay to achieve all that. I have found that happiness is often the pre-condition for everything else in life. And that is where many of my coachees get an “aha” moment.

When I say happiness, I want to be clear to not confuse it with pleasure or being comfortable. You can be happy and joyful even amidst your biggest challenges, and even when you are the most uncomfortable that you have been.

Happiness is going after what makes you happy. Period. Nothing more. Nothing less. What is it that makes you happy? Where have you buried that dream of yours? Is it buried under discouragement from others, or under lack of approval, or under past failures, or due to a fear of what you might find if you dig the dream out from where it is buried?

So, let me ask you – When will you do what makes you happy? When will you give yourself permission to do that? Yes. Give. Yourself. Permission. Read that again if you have to.

Reply to this email right now if it sparked something for you. I read and respond to every reply.

Articles and Stories Which Have Fascinated Me


Lessons In The Art of Listening From a CIA Agent and more

Listening can be more valuable than speaking. Wars have been fought, fortunes lost and friendships wrecked for lack of listening. It is only by listening that we engage, understand, empathize, cooperate and develop as human beings. It is fundamental to any successful relationship — personal, professional and political.

It also involves paying attention to how they say it and what they do while they are saying it, in what context, and how what they say resonates within you. Good listeners ask good questions. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as a journalist is that anyone can be interesting if you ask the right questions.

That is, if you ask truly curious questions that don’t have the hidden agenda of fixing, saving, advising, convincing or correcting. Curious questions don’t begin with “Wouldn’t you agree…?” or “Don’t you think…?” and they definitely don’t end with “right?” The idea is to explore the other person’s point of view, not sway it.

Listening is a skill. And as with any skill, it degrades if you don’t do it enough. Some people may have stronger natural ability while others may have to work harder, but each of us can become a better listener with practice. 

From A New York Times Article titled Talk Less. Listen More. Here’s How.


Advantages of Strengths-based Leadership

Does your manager focus only on your weaknesses and never talks about your strengths? If you answered yes, you are not alone. The following are some reasons why you shouldn’t try fixing people.

  1. It doesn’t work. It leads to frustration and demotivation.
  2. It ignores the strengths of people, which can create extraordinary room for growth.
  3. Focussing On Weaknesses Says “I Know Better”

On the other hand, below are 6 advantages of strengths-based management and leadership

  1. Fast growth and learning
  2. Better productivity and output
  3. Low stress and better well-being
  4. High engagement and motivation
  5. Building on strengths is faster than fixing weaknesses
  6. Higher retention – people stay longer in places where their strengths are valued

From an article from my desk – 6 Advantages of Strengths-Based Leadership and Management (And Why Should Managers Stop “Fixing” People?)

That’s it for now. If you have any questions or feedback, or just want to introduce yourself, hit reply. I read and respond to every reply. All the best,


(Twitter) @SumitGupta
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