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.

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.

THE COURAGE TO TRY

5 Things You Can Do To Get Started

I am terrified to get started on some things because I fear rejection.  To be rejected is my number one fear.  I did not have the courage to try.

Because of it, I often struggle in getting started on things that I have always wanted to do and things I should be doing.

What are you terrified of starting yourself?

As recently as last week, I have been struggling with getting started on this blog for the last 3 years.  It would have greatly helped advance the cause of my passion and benefitted the thousands of people that I have served.

But courage was missing. Fear loomed.

Rejection for me could be about a look of disdain, the pain of critique, the sound of dead silence, the litany of outright NOs, the forever blame game or the shame of failure.

Many of us get stuck at the MYTH of fear:

I need to first overcome my fear so that I can get started.

It is saying, let me deal with rejection first, then I can get to the things I wanted to do.  So we read books, attend courses, search the internet, go on to youtube, or follow the gurus for all kinds for self-motivation, inspiration, improvement, and training.    And the result is always the same.

Yes I can!  Yes I can!  No I didn’t.

You cannot overcome fear first and then get started.  The truth is

You need to get started first so that you can overcome fear.

I cannot overcome my fear of rejection if I haven’t seen what it is like.  Mostly, I imagined them.  And quite often, they don’t materialize.  And from previous other experiences, I am always glad I got started.

Babies are born every day. And they don’t walk. They learn to walk. First by getting started. Then by falling. And falling again. And finally, they walk.

We were babies once. Let’s get started again.

So here are 5 things that can help you GET STARTED on things that you have always wanted to do: –

  1. Get Strong. Not Wrong: Knowing WHY we do things is a powerful motivator. WHAT stops us is a powerful de-motivator.  And we all love to focus on what demotivates.  In my case, it is rejection, real or imagined.  And it delayed this blogging project for 3 years.  Getting clearer on my WHY changed all that.
  2. Think Big. Start Small: The end goal can be daunting and may stop many of us.  So, think big, but start small.  Start with what you have and not what you do not have.  For me, I got started on “blogging” on Linkedin with a quote.  Nobody clicked “Like”.  But nobody commented, “You suck!”.  OK!  Great start!
  3. Plan A Little. Do A Little: We are great planners and lousy doers.  Don’t just plan, plan, plan and do. Often, we never start.  If we did and fail, it can be terribly discouraging.  So, plan a little, do a little.  Learn and adjust.  That way, you are moving forward, and if you make mistakes, they are not going to be big problems.
  4. Go Deep. Go Long: This is a long game.  As you plan and do, find out what makes you tick and click.  Go deeper.  Do more.  I fell in love with coaching in 2010.  Since then, I became a Strengthsfinder and Halftime Master Coach and started StrengthsAsia. I am still at it. And whatever I do today, I am simply sowing in my orchard.
  5. Get Started!: STOP WAITING!  Do something!  Make something happen no matter how small it is!  It is not one day I will but DAY ONE I did!  For me, I finally did it! Started my blog. Launched it last week. So far, it has received more than 200 views and climbing. For a novice like me, not bad really.  And I thought nobody would read!

So don’t let fear stop you from getting started on the things you have always wanted to do.

Be courageous.  Try.

Or as we say it here in Singapore, “Die Die Must Try!”

IDEATION IS NOT MY STRENGTH. HELP!

Expression Of Ideas Is Your Strength

My wife told me she does not have the strength of ideation.  That she is not an ideas person.  “No ideation.  No strength in ideas”, she said. That made me raise my eyebrows.

I asked her, “Why not?”  And she told me 3 reasons: –

Different Strengths. Different Ideas.

  1. She doesn’t feel her ideas were original.
  2. What she knows, are stuff that others already have thought about.
  3. She thinks her only strength here is that she is good at learning and putting all these different ideas together.

Her 3rd point had me really puzzled.  So I asked her again, “And that doesn’t make you an ideas person?!”

Often, we all sell ourselves short.

It was Pablo Picasso who said

 

Good artists copy. Great artists steal.

 

And it was Steve Jobs who made that line famous.

It meant all good artists have ideas but only the great ones that put the ideas together made it their own.  We all can hold a paint brush.  And only those who paint on a white canvas are noticed.

Our ideas may not be the most original.  And yet, no one really has a monopoly over original ideas.  How often have you been told or you told others that your idea or theirs was nothing new?

Listen to this.

While our ideas may be similar to other people, our expressions of those ideas are our own. When we express these ideas in our own ways, we power these ideas in a new direction or with a fresh perspective.   When we put different ideas together, we create something new and make it our own.

Ideas find its strength and shape through our expressions.  It is our individual expressions of those ideas that showed how we think, feel and behave that is truly an original.

Unfortunately, many get stopped at “it is nothing new”.  We drew away, shut up, and too easily brand ourselves tragically as the person that is a “not”.  Not original.  Not creative.  Not an “ideas person”.

STOP!

Ideas, originality, and creativity do not belong just to the fancy pants. They belong to everyone.  They belong to you!

I have been married for 27 years. And the one thing I know about my wife is that she is a fabulously “ideas person”.  Every day, she brims with endless creativity in bringing change, hope, joy, strength, and purpose to the family, to her work, and to her friends.

So, let’s stop telling ourselves we have little strength or ability in creating ideas.   Worse still, that we have no ideas.

How you express these supposedly “unoriginal” ideas through your own way is your unique strength.  The fact that you are taking all sorts of existing ideas, mixing them up and creating new insight is precisely what ideation is.  So don’t sell yourself short.

The lack of original ideas may stop you. But it is your expression of those ideas that must move you.

I WOKE UP CRAPPY AND ENDED UP ALIVE

3 Things I Did To Engage My Day

Today, I woke up feeling crappy. What’s wrong with me?!

Answering that question while still in bed made me felt worse.

I needed answers that will get me a good start to a great day.

So I did 3 things:

  1. Stop Wallowing, Start Moving: Got out of bed. Took a shower. The wallowing stopped. Moving out of a bad place physically forced my brain to reset in a new environment.  I can feel my brain clearing the bad memories and getting set up for the day.
  2. Get Clear, Get Free: Needed to get clear, get free and stop the spiraling into crappy places. So I changed my routine. Instead of driving, I walked to catch a cab. The walk and ride gave me time to think my confusion out loud.  Slowly, i found myself engaging the things that matter.
  3. Do Love, Do Best: I got coffee and encouraged someone at the coffee shop. I am a strengthsfinder guy.  So naturally, I shared with her what I thought her strengths were. She came alive. Made her day. And I came alive.

And yes, it turned out to be a great day to be alive!