Traveling a lot to Asia, you know that Dubai is an easier place to go for global business meetings…then, let’s say Kolkata, India in the middle of 100+ degree weather in the summer. And, you definitely go through the Dubai airport if you’re flying on Emirates. 

Have you ever seen more beautiful chocolate shops than in the Dubai Mall – chandeliers and everything!

Ok, maybe there’s some nice ones in Paris too. 

My experiences there gave me major insight on what it really takes to be effective. It may’ve taken me years to realize it – that’s ok – better late than never. 

At that time, I scoured magazines and books on tips on being effective. Juggling responsibilities as the CFO as well as the Admin leader, I could use all the effectiveness I could find. And, truthfully, it all felt very heavy and hard.

There was a lot of do this, do that – action, action, action. Struggle. 

I don’t enjoy feeling like that at all. 

Effective doesn’t mean work is suppose to be hard. 

I love definitions so here’s the one for effective.

To be successful in producing a desired or intended result. 

Very interestingly, the word hard is nowhere in this definition. Two very important points arise – what’s success for you and what’s your intended result. 

For that big meeting, I didn’t really think about success for me explicitly  However, implicitly, I ultimately wanted everyone to feel at ease. The intended result was clearer. Get all the shareholders in agreement and move forward in a collaborative way with our clients. 

The only way everyone can be at ease is if you’re at ease. And, that means letting go of the struggle. People can feel that. 

Intending to be effective in your life comes before everything else. 

The whole time I was in Dubai I mainly focused on the success of this meeting more than success for me in life. I didn’t spend a single minute thinking about my deeper needs. 

If you start with you, everything flows smoother. You should be able to hold in your heart all the time a simple sentence that sums up what’s most important for you. Most likely, this will entail a consistent positive state of mind – whether it be peace, joy, love, hope. 

With a positive mind as an aim, struggling doesn’t happen because it’d seem ridiculous to do that. 

Keeping your intention clear is crucial. 

That simple sentence is critical. Discover it by asking yourself what’s your definition of success.

For me, it’s to achieve a permanent state of peace that effortlessly benefits others. 

This is always in my heart and easily screens out what’s working (effective) and what’s not. It’s easy to tell because when things don’t work you feel bad. 

Another time I was in Dubai, I visited an old friend from my Andersen days. I flew in around 2am in the morning and took a taxi to her apartment. I went up this big high-rise and stood in front of what was her door.  And you guessed it – not the right one or the right high rise. 

One might panic in a situation like this – being in the Middle East, lost in the high-rises in the middle of the night – but my intention was clear. Get to her place. So, different options presented themselves and I made it safely to her place.

The same works with my simple sentence. I work towards moving towards that aim naturally.   

New environments create freedom to do things differently. 

A fresh energy came over me when I was in Dubai. It wasn’t Dubai. It was the mind of enjoyment I allowed myself to spend time in. And with this positive mind, I naturally moved towards the intended result letting go of the stress I’d previously felt before I arrived. 

You don’t need to travel to Dubai to experience this. Yet, the experience is illustrative of what you can create for yourself. A new environment could be a calmer mind to do your thinking in, a cozy place where you feel at ease, or around people that stimulate positivity and creativity. 

As you relax, your confidence goes up.

For the meeting, I wished for everyone to feel at ease. The thing I didn’t realize is that the only thing I could control is for me to feel at ease. What’s more, being relaxed is fundamental to being confident. And, I felt that way. 

Looking back, I can see the way I spent my time leading up to it created that opportunity.

As I prepared with the team, we sat outside and worked together, ate tasty middle-eastern food, and enjoyed each other’s company.

Before that, we went to the gold souk and the fish souk (not a smart thing to do with a vegetarian FYI). And, took in the peaceful scenes of the traditional boats cruising right in the middle of this now very modern city. 

These things may seem leisurely and not important. Yet, they were familiarizing my mind to be relaxed. 

When you allow fun into your experience, your work gets better. 

There’s a reason why people aspire to regain a child-like wonder about the world. Joy drives healthy emotional states. When you’re feeling better emotionally, everything improves around you including your work. 

Taking in surreal sights in Dubai like the water dance in front of the Burj Khalifa, makes awe and wonder come easily. Or, seeing a full-size aquarium right in middle of the mall.  

You can do the same by simply asking yourself this simple question as you start your work.

How can I make this fun?

No further effort required. Let your unconscious mind seek out the opportunities for you. 

Ways to Turn this into Action

While sharing these lessons may provide useful insight, it’s the action you take that makes the difference. Here are a few simple ways to do that.

  1. Define what success means for you in a simple sentence
  2. Daydream about a new, supportive environment 
  3. Write on a piece of paper – how can I make what I’m doing more fun – and keep it in front of you

It’d be great if you can share in the comments what small action you chose to take or even if you chose not to do anything at all. Both carry meaning. 

If you feel you’d like to explore any of these more, send me an email back and we can schedule a quick chat. 

Wish you a beautiful day.