An interview with Shiv Khera

Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently !

Of-course there is no need of telling who quoted the above phrase and yes the person himself is a winner who really walks the talk and became an example himself of a successful person. Mr. Shiv Khera, a world renowned motivational speaker, an entrepreneur, a best selling author and above all a live example of succeeding in life, starting with nothing in hands. We, the randominks team got this golden opportunity to interview such a great and down to earth person. Here we’ve brought to you an excerpt of our talk and now let the interview speak of itself :


1) Your life journey till becoming a motivational speaker and an international best seller:

Just like all successes are embedded in great failures so I am no different I guess before my book ever came out, I was rejected by more than 100 publishers, nobody wanted to publish me. Eventually the world’s largest publishers took me over…. I have been in the US for last 40 years and the journey really started out going back with washing cars and gradually selling vacuum cleaners door to door and got into selling life insurance and that was probably the best thing ever happened to me and then I Met few people who really gave me direction in life. People like Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and others and then I noticed that my own life changed drastically, personally, professionally and socially and at the same time then I realized also that…. I have to put it back into the system so I worked and started to work as a volunteer in the jail, in the US at max security prisons. So I started teaching them attitude, self esteem programs in jail and… it really took off well and then gradually when I took it to corporate world, God was kind and my 1st client was Lufthansa German airlines and after that it just went on and on. My book got published in 1997 though I started penning down it somewhere in 1992 but may be the book was somewhere in my subconscious mind going down many years back. That’s the journey basically how it is from jail to Lufthansa and gradually moving to corporate world and god was kind. It just moved on.

2) How was your childhood ?

Yeah I am Indian born and brought up in India. I did my schooling and college in Dhanbad Dist. in India where we had coal mines and had a thousand of people working and when government took it over we came on the streets and so we lost everything and not being well educated I mean… when I left India I started life with a bucket in my hand washing cars door to door and that’s how it took off. Well, the childhood part very simply I was always a backbencher troubling the front backbenchers. I was never the studios kind all through my life completely even all the way to the high school the higher secondary. In my 8th grade I failed in 6 or 7 subjects except 1, I came on no. 27th just because 28th was absent and then in 10th grade I had to repeat my class. In-fact I failed in my class. But you see, in 11th grade when in those days it used to be higher secondary there were only 3 people who got 1st division in Arts and I was one of them. But I was never the studios kind of person and I was more involved in sports and I used to get involved in horse riding, I used to play polo and my interest were completely away from academics in-fact till I got married I never even read a book other than my school books and I was basically a comic reader.

3) Why you decided to write ?

Things changed and when I went to US and met certain people like Dr. Peale and few others that’s the time I started picking up some self help books and met people one after the other who showed me some direction in life and without their guidance certainly I would have not been anywhere in my life, so if I say that it’s all my efforts, it’s absolutely incorrect. Many people have made contribution in my life by showing guidance to me direction to me and… one after other it just begin a tremendous learning experience and am grateful to all of them and the only reason why I wrote my book that, the I learned from somebody and it’s time for me to pass it on to somebody in life so as a little token of my gratitude am just taking what I learned in my life from those people to next generation that’s all.

3) Sir, you’ve mentioned before about giving lectures in jail. So how was your experience there ?

It was a very humbling and learning experience because many of these people came from terrible backgrounds. They came from broken homes, they came from child abuse. You can’t even imagine the kind of backgrounds they came from and the most important thing was that they could never in life could accept themselves. Many of them felt that the world was out to get them and eventually they never realized that they were responsible for their own behavior and actions and you’ll find that all over the world, you hear many self made success stories but you never hear self made failure stories. You know why? Because they always blame it on something, somebody outside them. They will always blame either their parents, their teachers, their stars, the horoscopes, the luck the economy or something else but they will never accept the responsibility and all they will say for any successful person that he must be lucky at the right place and at right time. They don’t see the struggle behind the success. People like Michael Phelps, people like Mark Spitz they trained 15 years for 15 seconds of performance. People at the Olympics, they train for 15years for 15 seconds of performance. Why ask them, did they get lucky is the question. So one has to really dig little deep into it and realize what the whole thing is all about.

4) You’ve penned mostly the best sellers and of-course people are eager to read about you, so when will we get to read your auto-biography, ‘as a book’?

Well, I haven’t thought of writing an autobiography as such. In-fact it turned on me, but I never got into it and haven’t given it a serious thought. But may be it’s not a bad idea to do it. Often on I have mentioned in my books, my experiences in the US and in the Jails and a few other things but now it may make sense to pen down something of that nature also.

5) Sir, you are also an entrepreneur so we’d like to know your views about new-gen start-ups.

Well, here if you see for every one success story that you hear, every one Bill gates and every one Steve Jobs and every one so and so you did are probably a 100 times more the people who’ve heard of it but you see one has to also look at it or in the global way when you talk of the start-ups, globally the statistics are that 50% businesses fail within first 5 years and in the US about 90% businesses failed within the first 5 years and with the speed the changes are happening today, drawbacks are getting obsolete. Anything getting launched, just think about it… The electronics that are coming in I mean, they are daily getting launched and they get obsolete and the knowledge is getting obsolete within 2 to 3 years. By the time a person gets to engineering 4th year what they learn in first of couple years, gets obsolete. But there are certain things that shall never change and they are really in-fact am writing a book now the next one coming up. It is that the old people who succeeded in life are people who mastered 3 skills that are constant, they’ve never changed and they will never change. Go through history, they are: 1) People skills 2) Persuasion skills and 3) prioritizing skills. They’ve never changed…think about it. Look at this, all over the world we don’t have business problems, we have people problems and when we take care of our people problems most of our business problems are automatically resolved and two if you see if we have 1st skills it could be a fine form of behavior and three; see the lower a person is in life 90% of time goes in technical skills and less than 10% in People skills and higher you go up, it just reverses. Fourth, technology and technicians you can always buy with money, but the wealthiest person in the world must build and create relationships.

You keep hearing in B schools today, what they teach b2b-b2c-b2b-b2c, they behave like parrots! It is something that they don’t realize that every sale today is P2P that is People 2 People. People buy things from people they like and people buy what they want to buy and not what they need to buy. Interestingly even today our education system, even though IITans today you look at them, they come from common entrance exams, they are the cream of society, highly intellectual, very analytical… very analytical. Their IQs are great but, look at them… their EQs are lacking badly…! emotional quotients, they can’t get along with people. That is a major challenge. And today people have become so comfortable with technology that they’ve actually become uncomfortable with people! So no wonder there are many, many challenges that are coming up.

6) What is your message to a business aspirant from India taking the global market in consideration?

Look, eventually everything comes down to people skills, people buy things from people they like and you find eventually every relationship becomes a trust relationship. Why do you buy a brand equity, why we go to a Mc-Donald’s all over the world? you see whether you buy a Nike or whether you buy a Adidas or if you go to a western hotel or a Sheraton all over the world. Why do you go to that particular brand…you know why? It is because of … TRUST, it’s because of TRUST. You know if I ever went to a Sheraton, I know am going a certain X value, so you are guaranteed of minimum standards. If I go to Mc-Donald’s I know am guaranteed of minimum hygiene and cleanliness, it’s guaranteed. So what is it? TRUST! Similarly every human being also carries brand equity. Just like a company or a product carries it, every human being carries it. We all have to look at ourselves what is our brand equity. Anytime we take a name of a friend or of a person or any outsider. What comes to mind? There are a few words…. good, wonderful, honest, trustworthy, helpful, courteous or… rascal, cheat, crook, be careful! Something comes up to mind. So that is the brand equity the people carry.

7) The last question sir, your message for today’s young generation and of-course for our readers:

My only one message is: they keep talking of competition and my answer is, we have no competition today. You see never in history has been such a time where it has been so easy to succeed in life, the way it is today we have no competition you see… think about for I’m saying how many people do you know walking off the streets right now who are willing to do a little bit more than for they get paid for, answer is hardly any. Most people today don’t even want to do what they can get paid for. There is a 2nd big category of the people who only want to do what they can get by with. It’s a very small fraction of people who are willing to do a little bit more than what they get paid for… very small fraction… and if you fall in that category, tell me where is your competition? And if look at life histories of people who’ve succeeded and then they sustained success and then maintained good will, they’ve always lived by this one principle, ‘I will always give more than what I get; to my family, to my organization, to my customer, to my society’ and if we do that, tell me where is the competition ??


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