In Conversation with Dilip Saraf, Life and Career Coach

By • May 28th, 2007
Category: Books and Authors, Diaspora, Featured, People, San Francisco/Silicon Valley

Dilip Saraf is a life and career coach located in Silicon Valley. I caught up with Dilip earlier this month, where we talked about what a life and career coach does, and the importance of words. Words according to Dilip is a key tool for effective communication, which is an important ingredient to achieve your life/career goals.

Dilip thinks it is never too late to embrace change and realize your dreams. He should know since he is on his fifth career and thinks that there is one more career change in store for him.

He has written five books and they The 7 Keys to a Dream Job; Reinvention Through Messaging, Pathways to Career Nirvana; Rehired, not Retired; and Conquering Your Workplace.

Dilip is an engineer by training with degrees from IIT, Mumbai and Stanford.

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5 Responses »

  1. Kamla,

    I had downloaded this podcast as soon as it appeared and had been hatching it on my Ipod waiting for an opportune time to listen with the attention such good podcasts deserve. I finally got to listen to it, not once but twice. Thanks for this podcast. It was an uplifting experience.

    I had never heard this term “Life/Career Coach”.
    In India, we do have people fulfilling this function but not formally.
    Some of us (including me) listen to discourses from religious leaders at gatherings.
    Swamy Sukhbodhananda and Sri Sri Ravishankar at Bangalore are examples. Their talks can also be heard on Worldspace radio. I have also heard Prema Panduranga’s discourses on the Bhagwad Geeta. These great speakers and gurus invariably digress and bring in common situations in our domestic and professional lives and give advice. Listeners try to find relevance to their individual lives from what the speakers talk about in general and get whatever solace they can. I have not known people practising as life or career coaches formally and was curious about what I would be listening to in this podcast.

    Having spent a cocooned life serving in a Government owned organisation for over 26 years, with all the security it entails, I haven’t experienced any career disasters or failures that some of Dilip’s clients have been through but I do recall being through situations where his advice is very relevant. I am able to look back on some of these situations and agree with Dilip that I was wrong in seeing myself as a victim of circumstances, and expecting people to feel sorry for me. I am now even more mature. I feel there is no age at which one ever stops maturing.

    This podcast deserves wider listening to.

    I particularly liked some of these “quotable quotes” which I am reproducing for the benefit of those who merely read your announcement about this podcast but have not actually listened to it. (My comments, if any, are in parenthesis)

    1) “I don’t like my boss. This is a job issue, not a career issue”.

    (So true! So many career mistakes have been made merely because of a temporary “boss” problem. Bosses come and go. A career move should be dictated by other more important considerations. I have had my share of good and bad bosses in the past. Today I am a boss and have my share of good and bad subordinates.)

    2) “We don’t choose the right words to express our thoughts”

    (That’s one of the causes of so much misunderstanding in this world. All of us are not proficient in all the languages in use today. “That’s not what I meant” we sometimes hear people say. “But that’s what you said” is the common retort. Sometimes we are innocent. It is a genuine language handicap. In modern India today, so many of us are compelled to use English when we could communicate better in our native tongues. I find those who are bad in oral communication, are sometimes even worse in written communication. That’s more dangerous. Words spoken could be lost and forgotton or simply denied as in politics but there is no escape from the written word)

    3a)”Success today is achieving excellence.”
    3b) Define your own criteria for success.”

    ( I like that. You will not feel bad if you don’t measure up to what someone else expects. Why should someone else set the height of the bar for you in your personal goals? Set your own targets and drive yourself and do not rest till you achieve what you yourself set out to achieve)

    3c) “People like success but they don’t like the successful”
    (Suppressed jealousy? So human and so common)

    4)”We often confuse spirituality with religion. Spirituality is a process of achieving higher level of consciousness. Religion is for those who are trying to avoid hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there”

    (I hope Dilip is not suggesting that these are contradictory? Can’t one be BOTH religious and spiritual?)

    5)”The human spirit has infinite resilience. Ego has zero resilience”.

    (So true. Some people justify ego. Who will respect you if you don’t respect yourself, they ask. They are missing the point.)

    6)”They have spent their lives conforming to what others expect of them. The reward for conformity is that everybody likes you, except yourself”.

    (Agreed. So many careers of young people have been ruined by expectations of their parents and peers. If they had been permitted to follow their hearts, they would have ended up happier and more successful. I am talking of the thousands of young people who have their careers decided for them by others. We, the educated middle class in cities are the biggest culprits. For decades, we have been conditioned to believe that Medicine, Engineering and Accountancy are the be all and end all and have discouraged and presssurized youngsters who wanted no part of this trinity.)

    7)”Forget the “F” word “Failure”. Use the “L” word ,”Learning”. When you fail you learn.”

    8)”If you pursue what you pursue for the money in it, you will always find someone who can do it better than you and beat you but if you follow your heart nobody can beat you.”

    (I envy the successul artists, authors, musicians and sportsmen. They do what they like to do. And they make so much money too. Unfortunately for most of us, the common folk, the money comes from what we don’t fancy too much and the satisfaction comes from elsewhere where there is little or no money. In these cases, we just have to strike a balance. I have always had two kinds of work. The one that I WANT to do and one that I HAVE to do.)

    9)”Money just comes”.
    (True in my case so far. But the desire for “even more money” just does not go!)

    10)”People are more comfortable being “martyrs” than “masters”. They like to be a victim because anybody can relate to a victim.”

    (That describes my own state of mind a few years ago when certain events in my personal life and career overtook me and caught me unawares. I am able to look back at it now and decide I was wrong.)

    I believe I have distilled the “juice” from this podcast for the benefit of those who have not listened to it. I invite them to listen to it.

    Keep up the good work.
    G Vishwanath

  2. Dear Madam

    I am writing these few lines to appreciate the interview of Dilip
    Saraf, Life/career coach.. The present interview examplifies that if the
    interviewer and the interviewee are both well versed in their subject
    and also if they are in†RESONANCE†, they can make wonders.
    The interview was centered across a few ideas. They were (a)
    Losing one’s ego (b) Success can not be judged only by monitory gains
    and (3) cultivation of philosophical attitude.
    In any walk of life losing one’s ego is extremely important. May it
    be profession, service or mysticism. In fact in mysticism ego is
    defined as Edging God Out. It means loss of soul of the work. The same thing
    has been stressed by Dilip in connection with work by a simple
    statement ‘The human spirit has infinite resilience. Ego has zero
    In India most of the people, there is a growing tendency to
    correlate a success by one’s bank balance. Quantity of work is respected and
    not the quality. Lord Krishna had asked both Dharmaraj and Duryodhana
    to buy something that fills the room. Dharmaraj had purchased a lamp
    and filled the room with light while Duryodhana purchased straw to fill
    the room. So Dharmaraj was preferred as a ruler. But in present days
    people would prefer Duryodhana.
    Also about the importance to use the words —This gives rise to one
    story of Akbar Birbal. Birbal was once told to prepare best dish and he
    prepared that of tongue. Upon asking he told that all poems, best work
    prayers and what that is good is the outcome of tongue. Once he was
    told to make a very ugly dish. That also was prepared of tongue.This he
    defended as all bad things wars hatred and so on is the result of
    tongue. This story underlines what Dilip wanted to say. I have read Recent
    comment by G.Vishvanath. He has suggested to have communication in the
    mother tongue. But if the two are of different mother tongues then the
    real problem crops up. I personally feel that since presently world has
    gone so small that in order to keep contact with it, English is a must.
    There may be different views, but I just spoke out mine.
    By stating that ‘Forget the “F†word “Failure†. Use the
    “L†word ,†Learning†. When you fail you learn’ Dilip has quoted
    the essence of success. In this context I remember the
    The story of one scientist. It seems that he did not get the process
    even after trying 150 times. So a friend expressed a sympathy stating
    that it is unfortunate that he failed 150 times. However enthusiastically
    came the answer “ Why should not I conclude that these 150 methods
    are not useful for the process. This exactly as taking a positive view. A
    sphere that is half black can also be said that it is half white.
    I thought that through the interview I went down the memory lane in
    my past and recollected all. In fact I was in a stable Govt. service .
    However in order to achieve my goals (some people wrongly termed them as
    ambitions) I sacrifised the stability and could fulfill my goals might
    be at the cost of some money for which however I don’t regret.
    I agree with Dilip that spirituality is an excellent catalitical
    agent for success. As thought by Mr.Viswanath, I do not think that
    spirituality and religion are contradictory nor they cannot go together. They
    would definitely go together if religious duties are done with full
    understanding, in which case there is not going to be any differrence
    between the two. This is of course my personal opinion.
    Finally in my opinion Dilip has given in a nutshell to become
    Now I feel that I would not be doing my duty properly if I donot
    mention a line or two about the interviewer. With extreme skill the
    interviewer has lead to the process of generating important questions and
    getting answers to them. In my opinion this is one of the best managed
    interview with extreme skill.


  3. [...] If you missed out on our previous interview you might want to listen to it where he talked about what a life and career coach does. Technorati tags: dilip saraf, life and career coach, engineers, leadership, india Bookmark with:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  4. [...] If you missed our previous interview you might want to listen to it where Dilip talked about what a life and career coach does. Technorati tags: dilip saraf, life and career coach, engineers, leadership, india, arun sarin Bookmark with:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  5. Kamla,

    Your questions and comments during the interview with Dilip was perfect. Learnt a lot. Thank you for the enlightning interview and comments.

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