Have you heard the words “A family which eats together stays together” Well, when I did heard this for the first-time many decades back I was not surprised because our family always did have at least one meal together.
When I was growing up, having a dinner or other meals together during holidays was common in our household. I am sure this is something which was common in most of the houses then. However, things have changed drastically and believe me, it is time to get back to what was practiced back then in this aspect.
We humans are social animals and even though a lot has changed from the time we all lived in the caves, some things do remain the same. One of the things which I did read a long time back was our social behaviors. Somehow, each one of us have been wired the same way the cavemen/women lived. One of the most important things then was bonding over meals.
There is enough evidence to show that families spent time eating around fires and communicating verbally and nonverbally during those times. These bonds created during those times did help humans flourish over millions of years. However, we tend to forget all of this now.
Chubby Singh Merwa had a great professional and personal life going for him. However, he had realized that he was slipping up and not able to push himself and his large teams spread across different geographical locations for optimum performance.
Even though Chubby Singh Merwa was a smart young C Level Executive, he struggled to manage his time. I did work on many of his critical areas as his Cxocoach.However the one which according to him which made a big difference was a simple one.
During my interaction with Chubby Singh Merwa I realized that he and his family were not spending quality time together. Even though he had a working wife and a young family, he realized that having quality time with family without any distraction was missing.
So, I suggested to him during our Intervention about having one meal a day with his family without any electronic gadgets. Even though he was skeptical about this he did take up the initiative and in a week’s time he realized that he had struck gold with this one habit change.
He realized and got to know more about his 2 daughters by just talking to them and getting to know them better during this time than in the last one month. He also realized how great a cook his wife was because he began to relax and savor his food more than before. He acknowledged the fact that despite his wife was having a full-time job like him she always made it a point to cook for the family herself.
Over a period, this one Ritual made a big difference to Chubby Singh more than any other habit which we did work on during our Coaching Intervention. After seeing the difference in his attitude and emotional connect with his family, I asked Chubby Singh to take his learning to his workplace.
Now Chubby Singh was someone who was used to having his lunch in his cabin, replying to his mails and scheduling his concalls during this time. He was mighty happy because he felt he was making the best use of his lunch break of 30-45 minutes to the maximum.
When I nudged Chubby to step out of his cabin and have lunch with his team he was quiet for a long time. I guessed he knew what was coming next. I did not disappoint him and asked him to begin to have lunch with his team.
Even though he did not action on this for one whole week I just kept at this during our weekly Coaching call. After a few days, He surprised me by saying that he stepped out of his cabin and sat with his team for lunch. He did confess that he felt out of place for a while but after couple of minutes he felt at ease and got to know a lot more of his team than before.
Now it has been almost a year since I have worked with Chubby Singh. I spoke to him a few days back and he is religiously following his one meal with family and could not vouch for it more. He felt deeply connected with his wife and daughters. The family also enjoyed this one time every day and looked up for it to happen.
The lunch time with his team had become a great time for Chubby Singh to connect with his team members and he had made it a point to have lunch with different people everyday now just to spend more time with his folks.
He had invited me for lunch during one of these times and said “Satish you should see this for yourself to believe how much of a different Boss I have become now with this one Lunch Ritual. Chubby Singh has now become more a approachable and empathetic boss than before is the feedback from his teams.
The team he says has begun to connect with him better emotionally and have began to work together as a team now more than before.
Now, the common denominator with Chubby Singh Merwa in building his relationships both at the professional and personal space was always there. However, all of us are so fixated on big goals in our own life that we tend to forget the basics.
This is where working on a ritual does come into play. Once you make these a part of your daily ritual, then you are programmed to do this irrespective of what is happening around you. Yes, there might be some exigencies for sure. However, these will be one off incidents.
We all have 24 hours in a day and irrespective of whether you are in Bangalore, Sydney or Cape Town you must work on small action steps to work on connecting with people. Once there is a deep connection then believe me nothing will be able to derail your progress.
Some of the rituals I follow diligently and insist most of my clients to follow are
1.Begin the day with a good breakfast
2.Practise Meditation at the beginning and end of the day
3.Have one meal with family and one with office colleagues.
4.Brush teeth 2 times a day
5.Drink 8-10 glass of water during the day.
6.Shut down the internet before hitting the snooze button
7.Begin and end the day with physical activity.
8.Sleep for 6-8 hrs. irrespective of work pressure.
So what are some of the Rituals you would like to begin from today? It can be as small as working on Meditation or even reading for 20 minutes a day. However, I will share one secret with you here. The learning you develop during these habit formations is something which you can replicate to bigger things in life.
So what can become a good habit is more than certain to help you develop habits which can become a gamechanger for you in the near future. This is the power of Rituals. Simple but profound.