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As an entrepreneur leading a leadership development company, I meet many excellent facilitators and consultants who often complain to each other, “I’m just not into marketing and business development. Give me the work, and I’ll do it. I wasn’t put on planet earth to be a salesperson”.

Similarly, I meet leaders who do not see their real role as facilitating the shaping of new futures. Many facilitators don’t understand that their role is one of a leader – one who builds new capacity and catalyses growth.

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Here’s an epiphany. At their core, Leading, Facilitating and Selling are all the same. Let’s let look at the five common threads that run across all these roles. Once you’ve mastered these, you can switch hats fluently and deliver tremendous value in each of these functions.


“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” ~ Zig Ziglar

Your growth and success = how much value you are creating for others.  It’s that simple.

As a young child, my grandfather would always tell me to keep my hands with my palms pointing downwards (in the giving mode) and not upwards (in the receiving mode).

I finally understood his advice when I started by own business. He was telling me to always be a giver! To move from being a “go Getter” to being a “go Giver”!

It is in giving that we receive.  It is in giving that we grow. Keep looking out for opportunities to serve. They are everywhere. Also, while serving, it is important to remain joyful. As Mahatma Gandhi said:

“Service rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service rendered in a spirit of joy.” 



Each one of our lives, no matter where we are today, has a higher purpose. Make space to discover it.

Very early in life, I realised that our time on Earth is limited. All I have is this fleeting moment…which will never come back. If I do not use this moment joyfully, contributing with my full potential, I am wasting it.

My career started with a cushy job at the Tata Administrative Service (TAS). While I worked there, I discovered that I loved facilitation and teaching.  I could have stayed where I was – safe, comfortable and doing the same thing over and over again. Instead, I decided to follow my heart, packed up my belongings in a tiny Maruti 800 car and drove across India travelling through the forests of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra for six days.

In Pune, I joined a small organisation called Map Consultants, again following my heart and trusting the inner guidance of Joy.  Within a few weeks of my joining, the founder of Map Consultants passed away. Then, my wife, Anu and I started Pragati in the small living room of our home. All we had to start with was a Baby Hermes Typewriter gifted to us by Anu’s grandfather.

Thirty years later, Pragati Leadership has served over 600 top corporations, organisations and governments across 22 countries.

I am reminded of a very powerful quotation by Joseph Campbell which has had a profound impact on me. “Follow your bliss, and don’t be afraid. Doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.” 

Hold on to your dreams. Success lies at the intersection between doing what you love and your large, compelling purpose.

Many people I meet tell me that their goal is to make a lot of money. That’s great!  But let that be a natural byproduct of doing great work.

Here’s a metaphor I would love to share:  We can’t live for long without oxygen. Oxygen is vital for life. However, imagine a crazy world where all people did was collect cylinders of oxygen! It’s pretty much the same with money. Money is vital – but not the end goal.



“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”  ~ Joel A. Barker

If you want something, take action. Try small experiments. Learn and repeat. Joyful Action Now has magic in it.

I love to climb mountains. They are my teachers. Mountains across Kashmir, Pune and Austria, have taught me many crucial life lessons. Mountains have taught me that “one step now, is all you need”. Even when the incline looks long and dangerous, all I need to figure out is the next step. As I climb, whenever I start thinking about the past or the future, I slip! That brings me back to the now.

In the most difficult situations don’t bother but too much about the future. Instead, ask yourself – what is the one thing that I need to do now?

Each joyful step will show you the next step. And before you know it, you’ve scaled that mountain.


Closely linked to the principle of joyful action now, is the one of Creativity.

Look at the computer you’re reading this on. Thirty years ago, this form didn’t exist. It was created from imagination. The foundation of every single thing that you see is buzzing with the energy of creativity.

This generative capacity lies within each one of us. We need to be in touch with it and cultivate it consciously. One way to do this is to embrace this daily mantra for lifelong learning: USA. No, it doesn’t stand for the United States of America! It simply states that every single day of your life, do something that is Uncomfortable, Scary and Awkward.

Make it a habit of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and self-imposed prisons. Train your brain for expansive thinking.

A life of adventure is far more valuable than a fat bank account and stagnation. Be an adventurer of the mind and spirit.  Don’t accumulate things, but visit new countries and get exposed to different cultures and different perspectives.


The last principle is the engine that drives everything else forward –  enthusiasm and energy!

The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek “En Theos” which means that God (Theos) is within me and I am within God. In other words, I am one with the energy of the Universe. This simple thought can help you get you in touch with the ocean of creativity and enthusiasm in you.

I am reminded of an Urdu couplet: “Manzile unhi ko milti hai, jinke sapnon mein jaan hoti hai; Sirf pankhon se kuch nahi hota, hauslon se udaan hoti hai”

(People only reach their destination, if their dreams have life and energy; If you want to fly, wings aren’t enough – you also need the courage to leap.)

Enthusiasm is the foundation for everything outstanding – let it be the source of all you do.

And finally…SPACE

If Service, Purpose, Action, Creativity and Enthusiasm are the five fingers of a hand, we also need a palm that holds all these five fingers together.

That palm is the light of Infinite Awareness – remembering who you really are. It is the light of recognizing that you are not the body, not the mind, not the roles of Leader, Seller or Facilitator, but the infinite creative intelligence. The Silent Witnessing Awareness that sees everything but cannot be seen.

So, coming back to our original exploration…

Here’s what SPACE look like across all three roles

Remembering who we really are will enable you to serve from the heart. You will see that everybody on the planet is a manifestation of the same creative intelligence as you are. When you serve others, you are actually serving yourself.

When you remember the infinitely expansive field of who you are, there is no resistance. There are no boundaries. You are naturally inspired to think globally and act with a higher Purpose in mind. You look at the world expansively, give life the very best you have and you thrive and grow.

Finally, I would like to say take life playfully! Great work and service come from a playful spirit.

So, how does SPACE show up in your work and life? We’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading.

About the authors

Arun Wakhlu is currently playing the role of CMD of Pragati Leadership. He is the co-author of the book  One Wholesome World and can be reached at

Nitya Wakhlu is best known for her work as a visual facilitator. She is the co-founder at Drawbridge Innovations LLC, based in Portland, OR USA. She can be reached at