Everyone sells.

We sell every time we want someone else to do something for us. For more than 20 years, I sell my resume successfully to customers to close contract opportunities. I sold Oracle services for Toyork, Kubernetes Services for Kuberiter and for the last few months, I sell premium Cloud Computing courses for RedPeppy.

My grandmother was a teacher and she also sold Jujubes in the weekly market. Every weekend, she came home with an average sum of Rs 40–60. Trust me, it was a big money in early 1980’s.

From Wikipedia — The Indian jujube is called as Indian Plum or Indian cherry in English, “Ber” in Hindi, “Badri” in Sanskrit. The Tamil name is “Elanthai Pazham”.

We had a big garden with Jujube trees.

At the end of this year, I would like to share a few life styles lessons that I had learned from her and others.

Build your Loyal Tribe

It is important to build your own circle of people in order to be successful.

I was very fortunate to gain more than 15 friends in 2020 who helped me to learn and grow with my B2B/B2C initiatives. Without their help, I’m nobody.

Everyone should build their own loyal tribe to progress in their life and career. People will stay longer if you empower them.

Learn to say No

Learn to say No. This skill will protect you.

It is hard for many. We often think that it may offend the person when we say ‘No’. Instead, we help them by saying no so that they can move on. It improves your credibility and also removes people from your life who take advantage of you.

They say ‘Never trust a person who don’t say No, because you can’t trust their yes’s too.’

Be true to yourself and keep your response simple.

The right people will understand.

Tradeoffs

The life itself is a tradeoff.

There is no standard price in sales. It varies according to people, time and the market condition.

In 2013, one of my CIO friends in a US Government agency wanted me to help them with their Private Cloud migration. I quoted 40% lower rate. My Oracle WebLogic career was already diminished.

He questioned me about the low rate.

There was a tradeoff.

I asked him to include me in their new IBM DataPower initiative and he happily agreed. I had learned IBM DataPower and other SOA services and also contributed wholeheartedly to the actual project. The specific knowledge that I had gained in that project still helps me with the current role that I play.

Do not ask favors.

Do Tradeoffs.

Negotiate

Many people avoid negotiation.

One should negotiate in both professional and personal life.

Don’t stick to your guns.

It is an Art and there is no space for personal feelings.

Members of the Harvard Negotiation Project developed a framework to help people prepare more effectively for negotiation.

You may want to read them here.

Association of powerful people

I had a wonderful principal called Major. K. Srinivasan in the college. A man who dedicated himself towards the educational benefit of children back home. He was very kind to me.

Every New Year’s Day, I went to his house with lemons (giving lemons to people is considered auspicious where I grew up), touched his feet and received his blessings.

During my final semester, I didn’t do well in a Mathematics paper. The passing mark was 45 but I was only able to manage a meagre 41. Incomplete degree in that part of the world means missed opportunities for a long time. Also, it was deemed expensive for me to wait for 6 more months and write the exam again.

I went to the college principal to explain and he was already happy about my previous exam arrears clearance. He told me that he will take care of it. During that time, every college principal had grace marks (4–6) to grant to a student. He went to the University and asked the evaluator to add his 5 marks to the mathematics paper. I exactly got 46 marks and cleared my degree on time.

It is important to be in touch with powerful people in our life, receive their blessings and seek help when needed.

They are ready to give.

Luck

Luck plays a big role in our lives. Successful people often don’t accept it. People who work hard to be successful believe that luck exists.

Anyways, luck favors only the prepared mind.

Sometimes things don’t happen in life.

It doesn’t matter how hard you try.

It doesn’t matter how well qualified you are.

Do not get discouraged.

Everyone has lady luck showering on them at different times in their life. All you have to do is to continue doing what you do.

Put your head down and work.

When time comes, the luck will favor you.

Social Media

Be careful here. One wrong note or a like may cost you a lot.

We are into a demanding era. The moment the sender sees those two blue ticks in their WhatsApp, they wonder about the delayed response. The receiver might have checked the message in a traffic stop signal or they might be on the call or boarded the flight.

They have every right to take their own time to respond.

Do not demand a response.

No one owes you a response.

That LinkedIn request from someone can wait. You really don’t have to stress yourself to accept/reject that request right away.

Do not view someone’s profile unless there is a need to do so.

When sending a LinkedIn request, just write two lines of introduction out of courtesy.

Be patient.

Negative People

You can’t avoid them. It doesn’t matter where you go and what you do, they will always exist in your life. They are part of the human ecosystem.

We all reflect a negative quality once in a while or often.

Sometimes, those negative people become a big catalyst to your growth than positive people.

I explained the concept of battery to few friends today.

We don’t call an electric battery as battery with only positive terminal.

Both positive and negative are part of life.

How much you want to consume the negativity?

It’s up to you.

Art of Giving

Giving makes you happier.

Never expect anything in return from people who can’t help themselves.

In 2020, I gave free Cloud Computing training to more than 400 people. Around 30–40 people earned their AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification.

It gave me new friends.

I issued more than 2000 free coupons for my courses in Udemy for people to learn the fundamentals of Docker and Kubernetes.

It’s a blessing.

The continuation of those classes enabled me to launch RedPeppy with premium courses and also gave me a notable life time opportunity.

How to ask for Mentorship in LinkedIn?

I get at least one message in a day from a stranger who seeks mentorship.

I love to do that.

However, I ask a thought-provoking question to test them ‘What will I get in return?’.

Most of them are stunned and have no words to reply.

Some offer money. I decline them right away.

1 out of 50 give the correct answer (Write in the comment section what would be the right answer then I can share your insights in my next blog).

Always address the person with first name, say ‘Hi’, use ‘Please’ and be humble when you ask for mentorship.

I have a quarter century of experience in IT field.

Traveled in every continent of this world.

I have fruits to give.

All you have to do is ask nicely and be ready to answer my thought-provoking question.

Do you want an example?

Look at the screen shot of Riad Mesharafa message when he first communicated with me to get my advice. He did some home work. I gave my time to him instantly.

We both got a friend.

Be like Riad.

You will go the distance.

Happy New Year 2021

I asked this question to some known people ‘What were your accomplishments this year?’.

Every one of them talks about career, family, fitness, good health, new learning, travel, increment, and promotion etc.

All good.

Only few talks about new friends.

Only few thankfully talks about the people who gave them that niche opportunity.

My friend Brian G Burns famously said in one of his videos ‘The most important skill in life is to build a relationship with a person who will help you grow. If you think your education, credentials and experience only will help, good luck with it.’

In 2021:

  • Build your own tribe
  • Keep searching for your Jujubes
  • Sell Jujubes
  • Give Jujubes
  • Show case your Jujubes
  • Make people obligated
  • Start building your brand
  • Stay out of trouble
  • Stay healthy

Read my old article ‘A Rolling Update Plan for 2020’. It is applicable for every year.

I wish you and your loved ones a very happy new year 2021.

May God bless you.

Lawrence Manickam is the Master Cloud Architect Trainer in RedPeppy, E-Learning division of Kuberiter.

Please visit https://RedPeppy.com to register for my premium Cloud native courses such as Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) and Certified Kubernetes Security (CKS).