Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Visit with Raj Menon and His Conversations-On-The-Go

As I was passing through another sector of cyberspace recently I found an interesting site called Conversations On The Go. Here's a brief visit with the writer who developed this site, Raj Menon.

EN: What are the themes of your website Conversations On-The-Go?

Raj Menon: Conversations On-The-Go is about stories and conversations. I used to blog a lot about leadership and had several successful blogs in the past, and then with job changes and after I co-founded a company which took me down an entrepreneurship path, I had to rethink the purpose of my writing. I wanted to get more personal with my stories and slowly move away from just blogging about professional experiences. So I started this new publication on Medium (www.conversationsonthego.com) to bring candid real-life conversations and messages, through words written or spoken on camera, to a larger audience on medium.com and beyond. I want to collaborate with like-minded people who have their own stories and seeking for inspiration to write. I would like to eventually create an online community on Conversations On-The-Go of blog correspondents from around the world who are into storytelling. That's the ultimate goal.

EN: Why is leadership so important and why do so many leaders fail?

RM: Leadership is important to allow for failure. So failing is a product of leadership development, and leaders need to support their followers through that process. The more leaders fail, they learn and become better - but only if there are leaders who have already gone through that process to be there by their sides, to give them a helping hand, a supporting shoulder so they can persevere. That's what I believe.

EN: What would you say are the key attributes of good leadership? 

RM: To me there are 2 phases to being good leaders. Each have some attributes that are key.

Phase 1: Perseverance, Confidence and Accountability.
To start with, wannabe leaders need to understand that giving up is not an option for leaders. We have to keep trying to reach our goals. Gradually, it will help us build our confidence, which will make us more accountable in the long run.

Phase 2: Trust, Being Empathetic and Inspire.
As we become more accountable as leaders, we will gain more responsibility. We become responsible for projects. Projects are about people first and the product second, in my opinion. So we need to start building trust. Trust is earned through a simple act of showing empathy towards others. This could be as simple as being a good listener, and to the extent of being a mentor/counselor/adviser. Finally, we start being inspirational leaders. We build a community around us.

I am somewhere in phase 2 and struggling through it. My work on Conversations On-The-Go is my means towards mastering these attributes.

EN: How long have you been writing? What are your aims as a writer?

RM: I loved to write as a kid and, more importantly, reach out. I had pen friends. In college, I had thoughts I felt worthy enough to document, and so I started a journal. Most of it was poetry (nothing that good). I started to become more and more interested in capturing stories and experiences, about stuff I thought only I saw. Ex: I wrote about a cat-eyed girl in a local commuter train in Southern India who sang to passengers from boggie-to-boggie in the hopes for earning a paisa or rupee note from generous travelers. Her singing was so good. She was just a little girl. It was inspiring.

My first website was an early form of blog, which was in 2000 called thoughtz-online which doesn't exist anymore. I invited writing and poetry from people on my contact lists and they contributed. This was so pre-social media and the knowledge economy that came since then.

Many more blog escapades later, here I am with Conversations On-The-Go. I am ever more inspired to create an engaging community around my work.

EN: What do you hope to achieve in 2017?

RM: Read more. Write more. This month alone, I have surpassed my read-write ratio I have ever had in any single month in the past.

I want to increase my email subscriber base and form a community around storytelling. My people, who I can engage with and soundboard ideas.

Ultimately, in 2017, I was to be known as a published writer-storyteller. I have already prepared in my mind the edits for my bio when that happens -- some well known publications, as a guest writer.

That's how I plan to close out 2017. This will be the year I transition completely into storytelling as my primary creative outlet, through the Medium publication and my YouTube channel.

* * * *

What are your plans for 2017? Do you have a life direction? Objectives that you hope one day to achieve? What kind of plan do you have to reach that next place you want to be?

Meantime... life rolls on. 

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