TBN Asia Kim Pong Social Impact
Shareable Quote – Leadership Is Hope

The 2018 TBN Asia Conference (Transformational Business Network) just ended its run on 1-2 August in Jakarta Indonesia.  I was struck by many that came.  It didn’t matter if we were big time investors, start ups, struggling social eneterprises, people looking for purpose.  The fact that we came made a huge impact and difference to the way we see the collaborative and collective initiatives in fighting poverty together.

We cannot choose where we are born.  But we can choose how we can use our experience, hope and capital to bring to people around us.

#strengthsasia #strengthsfinder #leadership #singapore #kimpong

FINDING MEANING AND PURPOSE IN YOUR LIFE

Journey. Process. Purpose.

reframe, strengthsfinder

If you feel that your life has no meaning and purpose, then could it be that whatever you are doing up to now, they have been meaningless and frivolous?

Now, that’s harsh.  But possibly true. And I learned that from Netflix. Haha. Go ahead. Judge me.

When a man does not know what harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind.

Stoic Philosopher, Seneca

A plant grows towards the sun and thrive.  Just as your life grows towards its meaning and abounds in purpose and hope.

If there is no sun, the plant dies.  But if there is no meaning or purpose in your life, you will not die but you are not alive either.  While you are alive, you can choose to be either fully alive or not alive at all.  But when you die, you are fully dead. You have no choice.

So for you and I to live our lives with meaning, it is a choice that we must make ourselves.  To seek meaning is choosing being fully alive.

So what is the meaning for your life? How do you find it?

I am not a Life-Finding-Meaning guru. But I am passionate about helping people find their life’s meaning and have the personal experience helping myself and others find it.

There are no easy ways or straight forward formulas. There are no “5 Steps” or “3 Proven Habits” or “Do This And You Will …”.

Why?

Because everyone of us is designed differently, and there is no one life that is quite like another.  That is where both the challenge and the joy of find life’s meaning exist.  How we find meaning in our lives is not through prescribed steps but determined by our own unique learning behaviors, perspectives, experiences and backgrounds.

Finding meaning in our lives is therefore something that we do intentionally, frequently and over time.  It is a Personal Journey, guided by a Process and focused on Purpose.


Have you read?

Do one thing and make every day a good day
I woke up crappy and ended up alive


Personal Journey

Finding meaning in your life requires time.  Lots of it.   It never really quite end because it is a personal journey that you will take throughout your lifetime.

Time is a teacher.

As a teacher, you only need to look back and let it show you what it has been teaching you – what you are good at, not so good at, what often energises you, what you have been given, what you have done with what you have been given, etc.

It is almost like archeology.

Intentional.  Frequent.  Over time.

As you look back, you will be chipping away a little bit at a time. Revealing and assembling the chronological life jigsaw puzzles. Then discovering through the years what have always fired you up, and continued to remain steadfast, defiantly alive, pulsating and smouldering.  These are clear and visible clues to your’s life’s meaning.

To be, to do, and to be fully alive.

What I Learned About Myself

In my own personal journey, I have learned a few things about myself as I looked back: –

  1. I am a maverick.  Alexander Pope an English poet, wrote in 1711 “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”.  Perhaps in his views then, angels would always be right.  But to me, were the angels always right?  And I may be foolish occasionally, but I am no fool.  I often walk in paths less travelled, hold views less readily accepted by others and do things in ways that are deemed “different”.  While they do not make me right or popular all the time, they do constantly make me alive.  And when I am right, oh my!  It makes it all worth it!
  2. I am deeply passionate.  I know many concerns, I am sensitive to some burdens but there are only a few things that truly move me.  This has not make me more dispassionate about things outside of this small list of mine, but it has engaged me to be more deeply passionate and committed to that small list.
  3. Knowing who and what I am gave me courage to becoming what I am to be.  So when I started StrengthsAsia, I did it on a simple premise – And that is transforming people through who they already are and not who they are not.  And how’s that premise going?  As Yoda would have said, “Going very well, the premise is.  Yessss.”

Process

Having a tested process will definitely aid you in finding the meaning of your life.

This is not a mousetrap, a magic potion or a best practice.  But it is a framework, a guide or a compass if you like. It is a process that will help you collect, crunch and connect your life’s data points leading to your search for meaning and purpose.

Here are some processes that you can look into:-

  1. Halftime – Started by Bob Buford, Halftime has programs that can help you go from success to significance.
  2. Designing Your Life – Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help you create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling
  3. The REFRAME Masterclass – Created and facilitated by Kim Pong (that’s me!), it is a 2-Day program that helps  you discover your strengths, find your passion and play your best role.  It helps you reframe the very best of who you are to a life that has greater joy, engagement and meaning.

Purpose

Finding meaning is about knowing your unique purpose.  It is your place in the world. It is almost tailor made for you and something that you could possibly do with near perfection and ease.

The purpose of a hammer is to drive in nails.  And when it does that, there is always energy and there is power.  Near perfection and with ease.  Using it to turn in screws just wouldn’t have the same experience.  And there lies the hammer’s existential meaning and its place in the world.

What do you think about, feel or do that always give you joy, energy, power and impact?   Who have you served that gave you that same joy, energy, power and impact? Your answers to these questions are clues to where your purpose lie.

So the thing about knowing your purpose is that you don’t just think purpose.  You have to do it.  You find meaning and purpose by doing.  Not think and ponder. But think a little, plan a little and do a little.

Intentionally.  Frequently.  And over time.

So What Can You Do?

Stop going through your days frivolously and without meaning.

Start your days with meaning and purpose in mind.  How? A little bit,  Intentionally.  Frequently.  And over time.

Get started on your personal journey.  And you can’t do this on your own. Find a process that can help you.

And over time, get a little clearer on your purpose.  Catch a glimpse of it. Try it. Test it. And try again. It is a journey after alll.

And then, maybe you will find your life’s meaning.

Be Stupid And Pay The Price

React or Respond

 

Don’t be stupid!  Because the price that you will pay is never worth it!

When I say stupid, I am not talking about your ability or your intelligence.  I am talking about your reactions and responses.

When some thing bad happens to you, what do you do?  When people made you angry, sad, disappointed, belittled, what do you do?  Do you react or do you respond?

This Is What Stupid Looks Like

My experience tells me that every time when something bad and lousy happens to me and I react without thinking, I almost always ended up feeling and looking stupid.   I am annoyed at myself.  I am embarrassed.  Miserable at times.  And the price is humiliation, loss of credibility, inferiority complex, unnecessary feelings of hurt, misery and the list goes on and on.

When something bad happens to you, a reaction is something you do spontaneously, instinctively, and without thinking.  Honestly, not all reactions are bad, really.  But if you are reacting every time something bad happens to you, I think you are more likely to consistently experience consequences that are not so positive.

A response, on the other hand, is something you do with thought and preparedness..  You have thought about how to engage even before the bad situation has happened.  You have made a decision on what to do and what not to do if that situation occurred again.  So far, my positive experiences in responding far outweigh my negative experiences in reactions.

React or Respond?

Say someone made you angry.  Do you react by losing your temper, blow off their top, tell them their fortunes and condemn their ancestry?  Or do you respond by finding out what made you angry?  Perhaps you missed something in the conversation?  And instead of blowing off and saying the first things that pop into your head, you are measured, prepared and ready.

Many of us are stuck in a lifetime of reactions that drive us deeper into misery and pain for both ourselves and for those around us.  If you are experiencing this, you can actually change it all around.

2 Simple Things You Can Do

All you need to do is to answer 2 simple questions: –

  1. What are the things you have reacted to that you instantly regret?
  2. If they were to happen to you again, how would you respond differently?

Get behind those 2 questions and start with one or two reactions that is still bugging you.  Why does it bugged you?  Why are you regretting your actions?  Then ask yourself or people that are close to you on ways that you can respond that would stop regret in its tracks and put the power of control back in your hands.  When you can do that, you will always do better, feel better and also look better in the eyes of others.

So what would you do when that familiar bad thing happen to you again?  React or response?  If you have not been thinking about it, it is likely you will react.  But if you are, then I think you will be proud of yourself in how you would have responded.

Don’t pay the price for stupidity.  We are all better than that! 🙂

I screwed up and did not write for 3 months

Write Something! Anything!

What can I say?  Writer’s block.  Overwhelmed.  Busy.  Distracted.  Lazy.

I have not written for a long time.  And I apologise to everyone who has been following me here.

I have broken every rule I have set for myself when I first started this blog.  Post something every week.  Anything!  A simple rule.  And yet I broke it.  For almost 3 months! OUCH!  Sorry.

So let me write something today.  Or rather.  Let me ramble.

I sat down with one of my folks in StrengthsAsia today and listened.  She called it downloading her head space.  Cute.

My team has been working really hard and it does get overwhelming for everyone.  And it is only January!  The targets are set and the chase is on.  If they don’t feel the pressure, I would be surprised!  I admit.  I myself feel anxious, pressured, overwhelmed ever since 2018 started.

My company is doing really great and it does not looked like it is slowing down any time.  Morale is high, and I would say we are all in the pressure cooker a little too soon, too early.

Where there is success, hard work is always required.  I believe in working hard.  But I never believe in working hard and at the expense of quality life for ourselves and with our loved ones.

It got me thinking.  Thinking about everyone who is overwhelmed, busy, angry, sad …  Actually, it got me musing …

Be down but not out

Be sad but not self pity

Be alone but not lonely

Be away but not absent

Be angry but not forever

Be foolish but not stupid

Be afraid but not frighten

Be busy but not consumed

Be disappointed but not give up

Be discouraged but not dejected

Be overwhelmed but not over-runned …

 

 

 

I AM STILL DISAPPOINTED!

Ruin Or Reinvention

picture credit: Octavio Fossatti

Disappointed

I am still disappointed!

That is me.   Us.  And life.

I thought I had longed resolved a disappointment I had some time ago.  And when something I saw today on my social media triggered that same sense of disappointment, I realised it is still lodged in my consciousness.  It is still there.  And I hated it that it is still there.

Disappointment does not go away easily.  It stays for a while.  And sometimes, it stays for years and years.  And I am beginning to wonder, does it ever really go away?  I am beginning to think that disappointment is enduring.

And for what reason?

I think enduring disappointment does one of 2 things to us.

  1. It captures us and makes us captive to it.  It makes us ever suspicious and distrusting of the people that disappointed us.  So when it overstays its welcome, it becomes toxic, and creates the enduring separation, pain and over time, enduring bitterness.  Or …
  2. It checks in with us, measures the temperature of our disappointment, and gives us a health report on how much we have changed and progressed from our disappointment.

So which is me today?

Response

I think disappointment hangs around like an irritating buzzing fly.  And I could imagine myself doing one or all of three things.

One, tell myself this is utterly depressing and there is no where else to go where there are no flies.  The flies just keep coming back to me again and again.  Help!

Two, explode in anger, go after it, curse it under my breath, complain against it, try to kill it, and missed.  Again and again.   And then, let it ruin my day.  Again and again.

Or three, handle it like a pro.  From experience, swat it at the precise moment and be done with it or simply, get up and walk away.

As I thought about what I saw in my social media that triggered the old disappointment, I was able to trace the journey of that disappointment.

  • When the disappointing incident first happened, I definitely felt like there is nothing I can do.  Why did it happened to me?
  • Then there was the scenario two where I got angry whenever I am reminded of what had happened.  And it did ruin my day.  Again and again.
  • Of late and today, it definitely felt like scenario three.  I checked myself, made a mental note not to let it render me helpless or upset, learn from it and try and become the better man.

So yeah.

Disappointment is here to stay.

Decision

Whether it ruins me or reinvents me, I get to decide.

I can choose to blame the people that disappointed me and relive the disappointment again and again and again.   As a result, I will experience mounting agony, pain and eventually, greater and deeper disappointment.  And the people that had disappointed me, well, they would have moved on and not have the slightest clue to what I am going through.  So where’s the fun in that?

No.

You, disappointment, will not ruin me.  You will reinvent me.  I choose to learn from you, change through you and become the better me because of you.

I like what Conan O’Brien, the comedian said about disappointment.

The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.

 

 

DON’T LOVE YOUR CHILDREN AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF

How Strengthsfinder Can Help You Be A Better Parent

If you love your children as you love yourself, STOP!

And here’s 3 reasons why: –

  1. They don’t think the way you do
  2. They don’t feel the way you do
  3. They don’t behave the way you do

Surprised?  Not really?  And yet, as parents, we do that all the time.

What We Do

Consider the following scenarios …

You cleaned up the mess in your child’s room and you wondered why you were not appreciated for that.  After all, don’t people like to be in a clean and orderly place?

Just the way you liked it?

So it is eating-out night and you decide that it is time for the family to start getting ready to go.  Then you shout out, “let’s all leave in 10 minutes’ time!”  And your kids get upset with you for giving such short notice.

And you wondered what all the fuss is all about.

You instructed your child to stay in her room and study for 2 hours before she can have her privileges.  She is upset with you for insisting that she needed to do that. And you don’t get it.

After all, it worked for you when you were her age.

Every time when your son comes to you, he only comes because he needed your help to buy him some things.  And that disappoints you.  Why isn’t he coming to you for other matters besides just wanting your help to buy things?

You would never have gone to your own parents just for this.

And all too often, we impose how we love or treat ourselves onto our children.  We subconsciously expect them to think, feel and behave just like we would have thought, felt or behaved.

And when they don’t, they disappoint us, and we get upset or sometimes even angry with their “disobedience.”

Realization

There was a time years ago when my teenage son blurted out, “Dad, stop asking what my dreams are!  I am not like you!  I am not you!.”  At that instance, I admit I was disappointed with him.

And then, it hit me.

This Great Amazing Coach.  Deer in the headlights moment.  Standing in front of my son. Blinking away.  And I just realised that I have BEEN doing everything I coached my clients on NOT doing.

Don’t treat your people like yourself.  They are different from you.

According to The Gallup Organization, the probability of finding some one that thinks, feels and behaves in the exact same way as you do in the world is 1 in 33,000,000.  And the odds get worse in finding that some one in your own home.

Your children and your loved ones are not you.  When you get confused, annoyed or upset whenever they don’t do what you tell them to do, it may not always be that they are being disrespectful or disobedient to you.

It could just be that they are distinctly different from you.

So what can you do?

Strengthsfinder

Well, go find out how different you all are.

The Strengthsfinder assessment tool can help you and your loved ones find out the way you all think, feel and behave.

My son and I did the Strengthsfinder and the results were staggeringly revealing. Remember what my son said about he not being me in the area of dreaming the future?  Well, our results confirmed that.

Simply put, I have the Strengthsfinder talent theme of “Futuristic” and he has “Analytical”. And because of those different talent themes, we both dream differently.  One with relative ease and the other, with a little more work.

Because of Futuristic, dreaming about my future is easy and enjoyable.  I just turn it on.  All I need to do is, well, just start dreaming.

For me,  I dream in order to see.

 

For my son, it gets slightly more complicated.  He can’t just turn on dreaming.  He cannot dream to see.  His “Analytical” would not let him.  He needs to see the facts before he can dream through those facts.

For him, he needs to see in order to dream.

 

Understanding this simple difference between him and I changed our conversations dramatically.  I no longer ask him what his dreams are.  That frustrates him.  Instead, I would ask him, how does knowing what he knows (the facts) affect his plans.

And today, I no longer get blank stares from him.  I am beginning to get answers.

1 in 33,000,000

So STOP loving and treating your children like you love and treat yourself.  They are different from you.

We cannot change our roles as parents but we can definitely change the way we parent them.

1 in 33,000000.

 

 

picture credit: 胡 卓亨

DO ONE THING AND MAKE EVERY DAY A GOOD DAY.

The Secret Of High Achievers

Make every day a good day?

It is possible.  All you really need is to do one thing.

Get things done.

The Secret

High achievers find immense satisfaction when they get things done. And they have a little secret that for many of us, who are not achievers, do not know.

They have a to do list.

They always start their days with a list of things to do. Their objective is to check off each item on the list every time they accomplished it. When they are able to do that, it gives them great satisfaction.  And every time that happens, they have good days.

We can learn from high achievers. And have good days every day.

One Thing

Start your day with a list.  But with a twist.  Don’t create a list of things to do.  But create just ONE THING on your list that you would do.

Putting that ONE THING on your list will start off a chain of things for you: –

  1. Thinking Proactively – It moves you from reaction to response.  In a typical day, you would react to many things that happens.  Every time you react, you have lesser control in what you do.  But by proactively thinking about that one thing you want to accomplish, it shapes your response and  gives you greater control for that one thing on that day.
  2. Doing Intentionally – Having that one thing provides a focal point for your day.  You may wander throughout the day, but with a focal point, it makes you intentionally move towards it.  When you are intentional about doing what you have planned, it will always make you feel better about your day.
  3. Feeling Alive – When you do what you set out to do, you feel useful.  So by creating only one thing on your list,  it gives you a greater chance of accomplishing it.  And when you get things done, you feel alive.  And your day is always good when you are feeling alive.

That ONE THING could be anything.  Could be about work or something totally unrelated to work.  It could be about getting a specific proposal out on that day, or it could even be about something that you have never done before.

What I Did

Let me give you an example of the latter.  I jog early in the morning.  And when I jog, I am totally oblivious to people around me.  On one Friday morning, I decided that my ONE THING for that day would be to say good morning to every stranger I pass by during that morning run.

I wasn’t expecting much.  I am terribly shy.  Yes, you heard me.  I am shy.  And I didn’t think people would respond to me.

Boy, was I wrong!

The first person I said “morning” to, I caught him by surprise.  He ran passed me with a hurried mumbled “morning” back to me.  For the next runner, I gave myself a little more distance between she and I before I greeted her.  This time round, she looked up, and gave me an energetic “morning!”  Over the next 30 minutes, I would do that to every runner I had passed.  And to my surprise, almost everyone greeted me back.  And for some strange reasons, I felt fantastic!

That ONE THING was some thing I had never done before.  While it was not a terribly difficult thing to do, it did require effort and a little courage on my part.  And I did it!  The benefit for me that day wasn’t just feeling fantastic after the run.  It actually shaped my mind and let me looked at everything on that day with more confidence and positivity.  And it turned out to be a very good day.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

So make a good day happen.  List down that ONE THING.  

And get it done.

People and things.  One is to be loved and not used.  The other is to be used and not loved.

It is my experience that when we focus on cherishing and flourishing people and relationships, we focus on creating life experiences that lasts.  The work that we do will impact people.  But it is impacting people physically, mentally and emotionally that truly matters.

This is a Shareable Quote.  Please feel free to share or download the quote for your own use.  You can use the social icons below.

(Image Credit Imthaz Ahamed)

Also, check out my latest post, The Courage To Try.

TEST YOUR IDEAS AND SEE THEM FAIL

Knowing Which Ideas To Keep Or Abandon

The only way to see if your ideas work is to test your ideas and see them fail.

I am on holiday in Orange, New South Wales, Australia and I was transfixed by the crow outside my hotel balcony.

It was looking for twigs to build its nest.  And what I found really interesting was that it didn’t just pick up any twigs. Not even those that were already on the ground.

It had a “better” idea.

Instead of choosing the twigs on the ground, it started breaking off creeper branches on the wall by biting on it. And then letting the broken creeper branches drop to the ground.

And then, what it began doing next was fascinating.

It flew down to where the branches dropped and started testing them one by one for strength.  How?

By breaking them!

If she can break them, she didn’t want them.  Turned out, none of the creeper branches survived the test. Its great idea had failed spectacularly! It soon got disinterested and flew off.

I thought that was the last I would see of her.  Well, I was wrong.

A few minutes later, it flew back!  Now, it had gotten interested in the twigs that were originally on the ground.

She had discovered a “new” idea.

These twigs on the ground have become especially interesting to her.  And to my surprise, she went on and started performing the same strength test on these new twigs.  And this time round, the twigs passed the test.

Finally! She had found what she needed.  She picked up all the tested twigs in its beak.  A bunch of them actually.  And flew off.

All this happened in under 5 minutes. Unexpectedly, I have learnt a life lesson.

Ideas not tested out will remain forever as ideas.

Think about this.  How often have we had all those ideas only to see someone else tried them out and made them worked.  As a result, our ideas never see daylight, and we never got credit for them.  “But, but, I thought of them first!”, you told yourself.   However, it really didn’t matter. What mattered is who tested out those ideas first.

The only way you know if your ideas are good or bad is by testing them out.  Only then can you know which ones to keep, which to abandon. And which ones worked.

Just like the crow did.