Jitendra Gupta of Blissfull Prosperity Solutions: Giving Feedback; How To Be Honest Without Being Hurtful

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Be calm and peaceful. Whenever you are giving feedback, your mind must be calm and peaceful because if your mind is disturbed, your communication will fail; it will invite resistance and blame from another person’s side. So, always be calm and peaceful whenever you are giving feedback.

As a part of our series about “How To Give Honest Feedback without Being Hurtful”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jitendra Gupta, founder & CEO of Blissfull Prosperity Solutions, a spiritual billionaire coach, and author of ZeroHurt Communication.

He is authoring another book called, Stuck! Can’t Stay, Can’t Quit, which is on Transforming relationships. He has transformed more than 5000 people across nations in 14+ years. He is on a mission to create Spiritual billionaires who enjoy spiritual bliss with material abundance and serves society so that everybody can live a life of joy, peace, and prosperity in the world.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

After working for ten years in the banking industry, I observed that most people are stressed due to work pressure, relationship issues, health issues, etc.

Everybody seemed to live a very mechanical life. They were running aimlessly without thinking about the direction they wanted to lead. This made me question myself: “Where am I heading?”, “What is the purpose of my life?” “Is my life only about giving loans to people, doing a job, and taking care of my family, or do I have any other purpose in my life?”

A voice from within told me that I have a bigger purpose: to serve humanity and bring joy, peace, and harmony to people’s lives.

This thought grew each passing day, and in October 2010, I resigned from the bank and joined a spiritual cum social organization. I learned many things about spirituality, social work, and human transformation. I made a lot of spiritual progress and started conducting many training programs on relationship development, stress management, organizing, time management, business development, etc.

Since then, I have done a lot of research in human behaviour, neuroscience, quantum physics, spirituality, transformation, motivation, and leadership, but soon I exhausted all my savings and went through a deep financial crisis which also led to strained relationships. This made me realize that in order to live a fulfilling life a person needs to balance: spirituality, meaningful work, and money, and this led to starting of the Spiritual Billionaire project.

A Spiritual Billionaire is a person who enjoys spiritual bliss, and material abundance while making a social contribution. My mission in life is to create Spiritual Billionaires to maintain peace, prosperity, and harmony.

During this time, I realized that most people face difficulty maintaining good relationships because of poor communication skills, and I started teaching people “How to communicate without suppressing or spoiling relations?” I also wrote the books “ZeroHurt Communication” and “Stuck- Can’t Stay, Can’t Quit”. By using the principles people started getting fantastic results.

For example — A project in charge and a project manager who were always arguing and fighting started working as a team. In another case, A father and son who were not in talking terms started talking like friends. Like that there are many success stories of how the right communication can drastically improve any relationship.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

  1. Going to the Root cause — The first thing that separates us from the lot is that we go to the root cause of any problem and find a solution that can work in day-to-day life.
  2. Practical Solutions — The second is that all our training and coaching solutions are not just theories but practical and can be immediately applied by anybody for excellent outcomes. They are simple to understand and easy to implement.
  3. Result Oriented — Third, our purpose is not just to share knowledge, but to give results for which our clients have hired us.
  4. Spiritual Foundation — The fourth unique quality of all our programs is that they have spirituality as the foundation. We thoroughly believe and acknowledge that any solution based on spirituality will give long-lasting and practical results.

For example, one of our programs is the Spiritual Billionaire program. There we take participants to the depths of their spiritual self, where they experience bliss, joy, unconditional love, and oneness with the universe and use that for living a materially abundant life.

For example, one of my clients wanted to grow his business without leaving spirituality and with our help he doubled his income in just three months.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

This is Aarzoo’s story; I will never forget this story because it made a significant impact on me as it reminds me of why I started to transform lives. When she was 18, she lost her mother, and her father remarried. Aarzoo couldn’t accept her stepmother because she wasn’t able to give anyone else the same place as her mother.

As a consequence of it, her relationship with her brother, father, and sister-in-law also got ruined. She got into bad company and went through stress and depression. By the age of 23, her friends suggested that she should go to a psychiatrist, which she couldn’t accept. Somehow, she contacted me and asked “It’s been five years, and I have already tried so many things but still I am not able to come out of stress”, “Can I ever get out of this stress?” To which I replied, “Yes.” Later she decided to come for one of my Spiritual Billionaire mindset workshops.

At the end of the workshop, she shared, “For the last five years, I had this villain (stepmother) in my life and I tried everything to change my situation but all went in vain. I don’t know how, but something has shifted in the last two days, and now I can say that the villain has become my mother, and due to this I can sense my relationship with everybody in the family has also shifted. Now I am ready to rock the world”

This has been one of the most memorable experiences since I started my career; of course, there have been many such examples, but this one will always be special.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This incident happened when I was attending my public speaking classes and in one of the lessons, we were being taught about the importance of appreciating people around us. I started applying my lessons practically by complimenting people around me. One day on my way home on the bus, I saw a beautiful girl standing in front of me.

Being young, full of innocence, and enthusiastic about practically applying my lesson, I decided to appreciate this girl for her beauty but before I could say it, she got off the bus and I also got down just to appreciate her beauty. I followed her and when I said “you are so beautiful,” she said, “shut up”.

The lesson I learned was no matter how good our intentions are, the ways to achieve them should also be proper.

What advice would you give to other CEOs and business leaders to help their employees to thrive and avoid burnout?

In my organization, we have a culture where everybody should enjoy the work while delivering high performance. They should be able to balance their personal and professional lives, which is why people love working within our organization and never feel burned out.

People want to be treated like humans and not like machines. It’s important to understand that they also have feelings and emotions. If we trust them and give them the right environment, they will save themselves from burnout and provide excellent results while leading a more balanced life.

So, I would request all other CEOs and business leaders that yes, it is important that people deliver results but it is also important that they enjoy the work so create a culture and environment where everybody can enjoy the work, form deeper bonds, and have the flexibility to balance their personal and professional lives while delivering high performance.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership is all about taking full responsibility for whatever they want. A leader is a visionary who has a vision for the future that will improve the quality of life for people. A leader is not the one who is only interested in getting the work done, but he’s also interested in the growth of people. Personally, a leader leads by example, inspires, brings out the best in people, gives credit when there’s a success, and takes the blame when there’s a failure.

In one of the banks where I was working, I did some work that was not up to the mark, and it had some grave mistakes, so my boss told me that we will have to go to the head office to face the management. I got a little anxious. I went along with my boss, and when I came in front of people at the head office, they started telling me about the mistake I had made. But then my boss took the responsibility on himself. He protected me and assured them that such a mistake would not happen again.

This is a sign of a great leader, he did not throw me to face the brunt, but he protected me and boosted my confidence. The next time I completed the work, it was good, and my boss allowed me to take the credit for it. So, for me, leadership is basically about taking 100% responsibility; it’s not just about achieving the goals and vision but also developing people, giving credit to others for success, and taking the blame when things don’t go as planned.

In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?

My way of handling stress is to move my body in different ways before any critical situation, either by jumping, stretching, taking deep breaths, or affirmations.

Whenever I focus on what I will get or lose, whether I will do well or not, all these thoughts lead to stress and anxiety, but when I think about it, I am here to contribute and make a difference in their lives, I experience freedom from stress. I also focus on giving my 100% and leaving the rest to God, which relieves all tension.

For example, Once, I had to go to an event, and I was nervous about “what to say?” “How to say?” So just before it, I tried relaxing my mind taking some deep breaths, and had a conversation with myself that “I will give my best, and I am here to contribute”, then, whatever happens, it happens for the best,” and after completing the speech, I received a standing ovation from the audience.

Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Can you briefly tell our readers about your experience with managing a team and giving feedback?

As a team leader, when we work to achieve our goals and visions, it becomes essential that the entire team is on the same page. Quite a few times, people may not perform as per expectations, or their behaviour may not align with the organizational values. Hence, it becomes imperative to give feedback to your team members to make them aware of their mistakes.

I have always had an excellent experience working with a team because of the art of communication I have developed over the years to give empowering feedback.

This has helped me get cooperation from my team members, and because of this, there is harmony in our team. We also have a system of giving feedback regularly to each other, which is required to develop good team bonding. Everybody feels that their views are valued and have freedom of expression. This empowers them to contribute towards building a fantastic team spirit.

I’ve been always working with teams, first when I was in the bank, second when I was in a spiritual organization, and third when I started my organization. I firmly believe that any team can work together only when they have a free flow of information and freedom of expression without any fear.

This might seem intuitive but it will be constructive to spell it out. Can you share with us a few reasons why giving honest and direct feedback is essential to being an effective leader?

It is essential to provide direct and honest feedback for various reasons –

  1. Workability — When you provide honest feedback, people will understand and will be able to recognize what is and is not working for them.
  2. Getting Results — Honest and direct feedback is essential for a leader because the leader is responsible for getting results. The leader is also responsible for whatever happens in the organization.
  3. Be on the same page — if things are not going in the proper direction, it is essential as a leader to bring the entire team in the direction of the goal. Suppose something is not going well, whether it is about some person’s behaviour or performance. In that case, it is essential to bring people’s attention to what’s not working, redirect their energies, and guide them on things needed to achieve the goals.
  4. Developing people — A leader is also responsible for developing people who run the organization and do the work. They must be given regular feedback on what they are doing right and what needs further improvement. I believe that feedback is the breakfast of champions and people can only grow by receiving constant feedback. If people are not given regular feedback. The growth will be prolonged, and as a leader, you want people to grow to their fullest.
  5. Avoid Gossiping — If you don’t give direct feedback, there’s a very high likelihood of misunderstandings, gossip, politics, etc. Direct feedback overcomes all of them.

Hence, as a leader, it is paramount to provide direct and honest feedback, both positive and constructive, at the appropriate time in a proper manner.

One of the trickiest parts of managing a team is giving honest feedback, in a way that doesn’t come across as too harsh. Can you please share with us five suggestions about how to best give constructive criticism to a remote employee? Kindly share a story or example for each.

My top five suggestions on how to give direct feedback without being harsh, which I have been successfully using along with all my clients, are –

  1. Be calm and peaceful.

Whenever you are giving feedback, your mind must be calm and peaceful because if your mind is disturbed, your communication will fail; it will invite resistance and blame from another person’s side. So, always be calm and peaceful whenever you are giving feedback.

2. Ensure the other person is ready to listen.

Always ensure that the other person is open to receiving our feedback because if the other person is not even ready to receive your feedback, then what is the very the point of giving feedback and the way you can ensure it is as follows-

  • By creating an empowering context — It means the reason why you are communicating should be empowering to other people. If the reason why you’re communicating is disempowering to people, they will most likely not be open to receiving your feedback. For example, if your aim of communicating is to make people seem wrong, bring them down, or yell out your anger and frustration, then that will not empower the other person. But if your purpose is to uplift the person, or help the other person grow, then it will empower the other person, and the chances of them listening to you will be much higher.
  • Relate with the person in an empowering way — If you think about the person negatively, for example, He is irresponsible and unimportant. This will not make the other person open to listening to you. But if you relate to other people as important and valuable, the chances of the other person listening to your feedback are higher. Always remember, “No correction without emotional connection.”

3. Express Responsibly.

It means you don’t attack the person but point out their action you have an objection to. Attacking on a personal basis will only make it difficult for the other person to receive your feedback. You want to make it easy for the person to listen to you and not hard.

Also, show them the reason why you have an objection to their action. Make them aware of the impact of their action on you, on them, the team, the organization, society, etc., so they are not left guessing why you are having an objection to their actions or behavior.

For example, if a person is coming late, you can tell them that their action of coming late regularly is creating indiscipline in the organization. It upsets me because I feel that I am being taken for granted. It is affecting you because you are creating a reputation of being very irresponsible and casual or any other reason that is making you upset.

4. Ask for a specific action/request.

After you have given the reason for your feedback, please don’t leave the process just there. Ask them the specific action you want them to take now or in the future. For example — You may say, “From next time, please be in the office by 10 am”.

5. Acknowledge and offer support.

After you have given the feedback, acknowledge the person for patiently and positively listening to you and for accepting your feedback, and offer any support that you can provide, which can help the other person to implement your request or action that you want them to take.

And finally, given the other person an opportunity to express themselves and listen to them empathetically.

Applying these things would go a long way in creating good team bonding. It will help you to give feedback without spoiling the relationships.

Can you address how to give constructive feedback over email? If someone is in front of you much of the nuance can be picked up in facial expressions and body language. But not when someone is remote. How do you prevent the email from sounding too critical or harsh?

The principle of giving constructive feedback will remain the same whether face-to-face or over email; the same five steps are to be followed.

It doesn’t make any difference whether the person is in front or remotely present. Even If you’re giving feedback via email, it is important to follow the system because it always does wonders.

Another thing that can be done is instead of giving feedback only in writing; you can record your constructive feedback and attach your audio file with the email.

In your experience, is there a best time to give feedback or critique? Should it be immediately after an incident? Should it be at a different time? Should it be at set intervals? Can you explain what you mean?

There cannot be one answer to this question because it depends on the situation, to whom you are giving feedback, and how critical and urgent the feedback is.

But a general rule is that constructive feedback should always be given one to one in private unless you want to provide common feedback to a group of people. For example — An entire sales team, all the employees, etc.

Another critical point is that you give them feedback only when your mind is calm and the other person is ready to listen to you. If you provide feedback when the other person is not in the right frame of mind, high on emotions, and is disturbed, then it is not the best time to provide feedback because it will probably backfire.

Subject to the above guidelines, feedback must be given immediately after the incident as far as time is concerned. It is fresh and makes sense to rectify the mistake immediately. It is also essential to provide feedback at regular intervals, so a person knows how they are doing and they get a chance to improve their performance and behaviour and not wait till the end of the year.

For example, if I see one of my teammates making the same mistake repeatedly, I may not tell that person immediately, but I will set up a time to give feedback.

How would you define what it is to “be a great boss”? Can you share a story?

In my view, bosses can never be great because a boss means somebody who is only interested in work rather than the person.

So, instead of saying a boss, I would say be a leader. A leader is a person who on one hand is concerned about the vision, goal, and performance, but at the same time, they equally care for the people.

In our organization, whenever anybody joins our team, we ensure that while everybody is performing at their highest level, they are also growing personally by providing them regular training and feedback, which will not just help them in their career but personally too. At the same time, we give them the flexibility to balance their personal and professional lives.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Yes! for me, the idea or the movement that is very close to my heart is the movement of Spiritual Billionaire.

This is important because we see problems of stress, insecurity, poverty, unemployment, crimes, terrorism, pollution, divorce, and separation faced by individuals, families, and society. These problems can be traced to a lack of spiritual grounding and material prosperity in individuals.

Suppose every person grows spiritually and is grounded in their reality and operates from that reality in the service of humanity. At the same time, they enjoy material wealth and abundance. Then, we can have a heaven on earth where every person can live a life of joy, peace, and prosperity.

I am also working on the same movement, and I would like to invite everybody reading this article to be a part of this Spiritual Billionaire movement.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favourite life quote is — “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a matter of choice.” In other words, I am in charge of my happiness.

So how has this quote helped me in my life?

When we go through life, we will face challenges, ups, and downs, profits and losses, pains and gains.

Pain is inevitable, whether physical pain, emotional pain, or mental pain. It is an unavoidable part of life that nobody can escape, but suffering is a matter of choice which means that I can choose whether to suffer or not to suffer.

When I give energy to disempowering conversations, the things that I don’t like, and continue brooding, thinking, and talking about them, I am only making my pain bigger instead of focusing on what’s lovely and cheerful in my life, I can be happy and peaceful.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

The readers can follow my work by clicking here

Thank you for these great insights! We really appreciate the time you spent with this.

Jitendra Gupta of Blissfull Prosperity Solutions: Giving Feedback; How To Be Honest Without Being… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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