Kreators Series - Episode 2: Sharat Sharma's Author Journey
Our guest today is somebody I've been following for the last couple of years, Sharat Sharma. I have been his colleague at the Professional Speakers' Summit, I've been a student in one of his training programs, the video mastery programs. Sharat is the author of the best-selling book, The One Invisible Code, he believes that Yeah, there you are. Now he believes people and prophets are the two pillars of every business and he strengthens these pillars by offering customized learning, coaching, training and mentoring services, from startups to large corporations, always seeking to better his students from where they are to where they can and ought to be. So welcome, Sharat.
Sharat: Hey, thank you so much, Pravin. Super excited to be here. Looking forward to a great conversation with you. Firstly, thank you so much for inviting me. I'm looking forward to this conversation.
Pravin: Lovely. Let's start off with a slow, low full toss on the left side, how did this book come about?
Sharat: All right, so long story. If I start off, then you know, it's never going to end. So let me like kind of shrink it and share how did it happen? So I think in the year, yeah. So in the year 2016, I attended a workshop, you know, where somebody said, you know, you since you're in the space of training, speaking, why don't you write a book and there was a master class, which was done by one of the, you know, the guy from US, and he said, you can write a book, and write a book and become a millionaire. You know, that title appealed to me quite a bit. So I just walked in three days of rigorous work. And then, you know, he said, you know, you should write a book. There were thoughts. You know, I used to scribble every day, Pravin, you know, even today, I write every day. Some stuff, I put it on Facebook and LinkedIn, but a lot of things, you know, if you see the loads of books that are here, right next to me, right, I keep scribbling my thoughts and all. So I used to write and a lot of people used to tell me that you should publish a book, but that workshop kind of gave me a trigger. And then I initiated the process of writing, but, you know, I think all of us go through the stage of confusion, before you arrive at clarity. That was the stage I was in 2016. Right, I would write but I do not know, what would be the title, what would be the real outcome of the book. I was doing work in leadership a lot at that time. So I was inclined towards writing leadership, you know, something around leadership. So interestingly, you know, my book was on leadership, okay. So, that book is not yet published. So, I wrote that book first. But I felt, you know, there has to be a story behind that story, right. So if you have read the book, this is a story about a person who has left job, he’s lost hopes on all his dreams, and all. And then he meets his master, right. And the second book is about this person who got inspired by his master training two more people, right? An entrepreneur and a leader, right. And half of that book, most of that book is also written. But I thought, you know, there has to be a book before this. And that's how I started writing One Invisible Code. So a lot of it was not really organized but there was a lot of content that was there with me. And when I had this thought, so I put together all my thoughts. And then I said, how can I make it very interesting? So that the content was ready in two years time, 2016 to 2018, the content was pretty much there. However, I wanted to make it different. I never wanted to write that typical theory, you know, like, we say, gyan and all, I never wanted to write that. So I said, how can I storify it? And then, you know, my own experiences, some of the experiences like in the book I write about, you know, how this person loses a job and you know, he goes into the zone of frustration. All his aspirations turns into anger, right? That was me in the year 2013. So, I created the character and then some bit of the master and all that is fiction. And that's how I started writing the book.
Pravin: You got to wait for me to ask those questions. I'm coming to that question right here. I'm coming to that. And I completely relate to what you're telling in terms of writing a book, but then writing several other books and bringing the old book back. My first book that I wrote in 2014. 73.5 is for effective networking is hopefully going to see the light of day this year.
Pravin: But, when I picked up the book, Sharat, I've known you as a sales coach, a sales trainer, a sales leader, and I picked it up just because I knew Sharat Sharma, right, but when I read through the first chapter, "hey! where’s sales? where’s sales?", and then eventually dawned on me that it's a lot more about motivation and leadership here. Why so?
Sharat: So, I think the foundation of everything that we do today, Pravin, is the mindset, right? Even before we do the leadership work, or the sales work, the foundation is mindset, right. So, you know, that's what I was thinking, you know, in fact, if you look at, if I continue this book, I can add leadership to it, I can add marketing to it, I can add sales to it. So the version two of this book is going to be a leadership and sales, right? But this is the core of everything. Any area that we want to master, we want to have the right mindset and right inspiration and motivation in place. So that was my thought process. And like I said, right, the second book was ready, but I wanted to write the first one.
Pravin: Beautiful, I love the way you're sequencing it connecting the dots, which means all those who picked it up and have the mindset foundation are all of us, myself included waiting for the next book of yours to come out, Sharat. Now, the question is, you've used a beautiful fable approach where I could relate to joy in terms of the various stages, not the full journey, but there are always instances. What prompted you to write that in a fable manner? Where did the master come from? Is that some parts of Joy are you Sharat? But what about the master? Various masters you brought them together? And why a fable?
Sharat: Yeah. So I think part of Joy isn't all of us, right. And I chose the name Joy, because that's what we're seeking most of the time, right. Even the name I thought of it, because you know, we all connect with Joy, right? So that's how it was. Masters, like you rightly said, different masters at different point in time. And they taught me different lessons. So I kind of put all of that together and present it as a formula, right as an invisible code. Why story or why the fable? I think we all love stories. We all love stories. I mean, as a kid, I used to love stories. As an adult, I love stories. I know I asked any 70, 80, 90 year old, you know, our elders, they would say we love stories. So I think stories is the best way to convey anything to anyone. My next book is going to be story. But after that any book that I write is going to be a story format. I think we all love stories. So it's amazing. And I think Pravin, you also connected with it, right? I think stories will connect with them.
Pravin: So one aspect that stayed with me in the book is the apples to apple comparison. You know, so there are lots of nuggets. But I'm only going to talk about the two or three that hit me hard that hey, I am comparing my failure with somebody's success, should I not be comparing my success with the other person's success? What are your thoughts? How did that come into the book? Beautiful writing!
Sharat: Yeah, thank you, Pravin. So there's so many bits, right? I mean, somewhere, I think we lose out on living the life of mastery and we head towards disaster is because we get into the comparison zone. And comparison between what? I mean even if we go a little on the, you know, spiritual side, God never created two individual or no two fingerprints are the same. Right? Even if we have, you know, twins or, you know, four people, five people, whatever they call them as right, but no, fingerprints are the same. So there's no way that we can compare and the more we compare, we actually get into the zone of mediocrity. And in the book, I talk about mediocrity and mastery, and how we shrink ourselves and never live up to our potential. I think that's the saddest thing that we do right from the, I mean, we go through it. Unknowingly, knowingly we go through it. The comparison begins right from the school time and then we just don't compare apples with apples. You always think grass is greener on the other side. But grass is greener where we water it, simple.
Pravin: Yeah, but it's in our culture, Sharat. We can never stop ourselves from comparing. We shouldn't compare right? But hey, your book is thicker and bigger than my book. Jokes apart, jokes apart this, there's another two things that I loved about is it's peppered with punch lines, it's peppered with those small boxes that you've put in, which are one line, two line summaries, and I'm a big Rajini fan. And here, down south is a lot of the punch lines going in. And you have interspersed your punch lines with several others. But the question I'm heading to is another example that the master attributes to that you write in your book, that people are so enthusiastic and going through in the wrong direction? I would love your thoughts on that point.
Sharat: Yeah, so you know. Okay, so let me, so no offense to anyone, right? Before I say anything, no offense to the personal development industry, or anyone who seeks motivation, and all that, I think, in the modern era, the shiny object syndrome and the motivation and the quick fixes that we are after, I think that kind of kills. I mean, let me put it this way, it kind of actually misleads us. It kind of misleads us into very, very many different directions, right. And having an enthusiasm is one thing and having an enthusiasm in a directed way is a different game altogether. Right, we must have all the energy, excitement in life. But if you're using that energy and excitement in the wrong way, kind of misleads us. And today, with the amount of motivation that we are bombarded with, I think we get carried away very easily. Right. So my thoughts, you know, we should have motivation just to get started. But it is your aspiration that keeps you moving.
It is that inner vision for yourself that keeps you moving, and it need not see. I mean, let's look at this, right. I mean, Virat Kohli has a different aspiration than Sachin Tendulkar, right, both of them don't chase the same thing. Right. Similarly, Mother Teresa serving the needs of humanity was her aspiration, and she was doing our own best, right. But if we get carried away, we have we are not going to live our potential, we are not going to be that master ever, we are just going to be disaster. And also one little thought just to conclude this, you know, there's a huge difference between goals and aspirations. Aspirations are within, right. Goals are something that we it's for achievement, right? Again, achievement, fulfillment, two different things all together. Right? You know, you can chase goals, but you will be unhappy. Not a great part to be.
Pravin: Lovely, lovely. Lovely. Now, I'm going to dwell a little bit back on your first couple of answers. I would love to delve deep into your brain in terms of your writing process, you did say that you write everyday, you got bits and pieces. How did that come about? And how do you string it all together? Sharat, I'm curious as our viewers and listeners.
Sharat: So like I said, You know, I write a lot, I write more almost every day. So you know, something that I did not do, which I'm doing now, I think this is a piece of advice for all of us. I never, I used to write from what 2013, 14 onwards, I used to write. But I never gathered my thoughts on a Word document. I never put it in an orderly way. Right. I used to do it very randomly. And then when I look back, and I say, Arey! How much content did you write? I wrote so much of it. In fact, once my wife was asking, “You write every day, where is the content?” You want me to go on Facebook and actually copy paste all of them? Doesn't work that way. So I shifted my approach, and started writing on my Word document first, and then pasting it on Facebook or anyway, so I started gathering my thoughts. That's something that I did. Now let's come back to very focusedly on the book, right. So I used to write I had the formula in my mind 2017, I had the invisible code in my mind. I had. So if you see in even in the book, I have a lot of stories that I write in addition to the story of master and Joy, right? So I'm somebody who loves stories and even in my trainings, I use a lot of stories and all.
So I have the repository of everything in one place. Now, the second step was to organize it, right. Now organizing because I did not do it. Initially, it was a little tough for me, but then I put my thoughts together and saying, okay, chapter one, chapter two, chapter three, chapter four, what would I do? So, when I started actually putting the book together, I wrote the chapters first. Right once I have the outline, once I have this skeleton ready, then I know where should I plug in what, right. And then I started plugging in, you know, all of the content that I had into, in an organized to be right. So that was something that was there for in the initial phases by then I had not even contacted the publisher. But when I have reached the publisher Notion Press right? When I spoke to the publisher, they said, “Dude, you are not, you're nowhere”, right? You have got to really put things in. So I had this word document named as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and all that. And I'm like, “Oh, I'm so organized.” But then they said, you know, it has to be in a different way, they helped me quite a bit in terms of organizing my content, then it went into reviews. And then, you know, it went into reviews, by the way, I think we kind of omitted around some 20 pages, because I think the content was a lot. So I was okay, with the feedback that was coming in.
I think that's something that we must learn in terms of when we're writing and when you're editing and everything goes on, we need to keep the ego aside, right? You really feel that “Arey kya yaar? you know, I wrote the content, why are they eliminating it and all”, but I think that to kind of really helped me to put the book in a better shape. It's just about 190 pages, right? With all the exercises and all but now people love it, because it's not very thick. It's not very, you know, very thin. So that is how it was, but let me not tell you all of. So this was my process, but let me tell you how we should be writing it. After writing the first book, I think, a lot of lessons, Pravin honestly a lot of lessons that I learned after writing the first book, four years is what I took to get it in shape. And you know, get it published, 2016 to 2020. That's when we September 2020 is when we publish, right. So good four years. But this is our, this is what I did, I think, not great way to do it. But the right way to do it. I think if you're clear about publishing a book, even if you're unclear about the road, you know, the outline of the book, what are you going to cover in each chapter, but it's very important for us to organize the content that we write everyday.
And as marketers, as business owners, we got to write content, right. We need to put it in an organized way, you can name it, you can divide them into segments, like if you're writing on marketing, on prospecting, put it in one, you know, in an organized way, basically in one section or one folder, right? And then you know, when you want to really put it when you are clear about this is going to be my book, these are the things that I'm going to cover, then you can add interesting bits into it like analogies or, you know, stories or statistics, you can plug all of those elements. And another very interesting thing that I learned not, I wouldn't say exactly during the process. But when I sat back and actually thought about what did I do right? Why is it that you know, a lot of people are loving it? You know, I think something that worked is I used the approach of left brain and right brain. The book has logic, the book has emotion. Right? So there are places where I'm giving a lot of exercises. And there are places where I'm telling them a lot of stories, right. I said, that kind of worked really well. And it also came as feedback to me a lot of talk with a lot of people, right, they said, you know, everything that you put together is like a complete package.
Pravin: Right. Beautiful. That leads me to one more question on the book that you’ve reached out and got feedback and testimonials from a lot of luminaries around. How did that happen? What was your process in going through?
Sharat: So Pravin, I asked for help. I think many of us forget that this four letter word, H E L P. This very simple. Right? You got to ask. I mean, see, we love quotes and all that right. But even in the quotes it is said, “Until you ask, it's always a no” right. So I just asked. I created a list saying these are the people you know, I would want to reach out to. I wrote a list of about 50 names. Yes, there were rejections. I had a process of asking the testimonials. You know, I wrote an email to them didn't work. I sent a video to them. Then most of them responded. So I think number one lesson is ask for help. And help is all around you.
Pravin: Beautiful, beautiful. That's the basics that we forget.
Sharat: And the second thing is you know I had that once the book was ready, I knew that I want to have, you know, good testimonials and done very in the right way and all so I put together a structure saying email one, email two, email three. This is how I will do it. I will not be very pushy, right. I think we should respect the space of others. I think if they are unable to do it, they are unable to do it. And honestly, it was really kind of everyone except for one or two who couldn't actually, I did not hear from them. But I think everyone responded. You know, Robin Sharma couldn't give the testimonial. But he wrote back saying, you know, I'm busy, I cannot review it. And I cannot write a testimonial unless I read the book. And he was writing his own book at that time, right. Same thing with Tony Robbins say, I mean, I think everyone responded. That was like the best thing. And I remember once Pravin, you know, I think I got up at 2:30 in the night, and I just picked up mobile and saw mail from Brian Tracy. I didn't sleep the whole night and like, Yeahh!. So yeah, I think these are fundamentals Pravin, we get we kind of forget, we get too... Complexity is the enemy of execution.
Pravin: Yeah. Awesome. But Sharat, writing is just one of the ways in which you reach out to your target audience. I've seen you in videos and audio and a whole lot of things. So where does that creativity come from? Where does it, What spurs you on?
Sharat: Okay, You're making me think. Okay, so I don't know if I should say this, but there is a creative keeda in me always. Right, I want to do something differently. And, you know, even the name, ‘The One Invisible Code’ and all that. Right. The creative keeda was always there. I learned 3D animation, by the way, you know, when I was graduating, I'm a 3D animator. And I didn't pursue it then because the market wasn't okay. And you know, you know, the pressure that comes in, go get a job and all. So, kind of quit that. But that element is always there with me. So I use it in videos. I use it in some kind of audio files. Now. I'm structuring it a little more. That's how it is. Yeah.
Pravin: And what are the sources you go to whom do you follow? What podcasts? What do you do? What are your sources of inspiration?
Sharat: So I think I don't limit it to one source. Pravin, I think that is again, limiting ourselves, so when I'm on a walk, so my schedule is like this, right? When I'm working out, there's nothing around me, right? It's just me, right? I don't even listen to the music or anything. I'm just working out right. But when I'm on walk, right, thrice in a week, I do 10,000 steps, thrice or fours, you know, based on my schedule and all that. So that's when I'm listening. I'm listening to some of the podcasts like Brendon Bouchard, Brian Tracy's right. There are a couple of, you know, so every genre I have some leaders that I follow.
Right leadership, if you ask me, John Maxwell is my mentor. I'm a certified John Maxwell trainer, speaker, coach. Right. So I listen to him a lot. Right? So that 10,000 steps is my walk with John Maxwell or my walk along with, you know, one of these thought leaders. That's something and I consume a lot of videos right when I'm, you know, if I have some space time I go on YouTube, subscribe to some channels and all that. And interestingly, Pravin, I think I want to make this point here that not always popular channels give you insights. At times, there are channels which are, you know, which might have just 1000 subscribers. They give you amazing content. I mean, they give you such deep insights that you will be like, you know, I want to pursue this more. I say that's something I do. So I consume videos, I consume podcasts, I consume, I read books, you can you can see some of the books out there. Right 2020 I was more into my book, but 2021 again, two books a month, not more. two books a month is like enough. That's something that I would I always do.
Pravin: Lovely Sharat. So keep going, Keep doing the good work. Lovely to have you with us at Kreators. And for all the viewers and listeners, the book and all the gyan is available at www.sharatsharma.com for his books, courses, lessons, and to connect with Joy and his master. So, Sharat. Thank you once again.
Sharat: Thank you so much for Pravin, Thank you so much for inviting.