Me! Me! Me!


Firms are fighting for the same customer thereby giving the customer the upper hand.  Each company focuses on catering to the needs of their customers to a point that they provide customized services around the needs of their customers.   Take for example, McDonald’s has it your way, in which you can choose what you want, including super sizing it.  Isn’t it great that the company wants to meet my needs and customize their services to match them?  That’s awesome!   It creates a society focusing too much on individual needs, which results in people thinking that is it is all about me.

The ME-focused society has created a challenge in which people tend to want to do things for the sake of getting the credit.   The need to be rewarded every single time is not realistic, because it creates a shift in focus from team to individual.   Who has not worked with someone who wants to be front and center and take call the credit?   They might have worked alongside everyone, but when it is time to get the credit they are in front of everyone.   Right, wrong, or indifferent, most projects are a team sport.  You need a group of people to work together to get the job done. Therefore when providing recognition, you focus on the team first.

How do we make sure the team gets the credit?

  • Highlight the delivery and what value it brings either to the organization or clients.
  • List all the names of all people who participated in the project.
  • Specify any special process or innovation that we put in place to make the solution better
  • Last but not least, unless someone has done a special job, stay focused on the team effort and commitment

At work, celebrate your people’s uniqueness, but focus on the over-arching goal and how the team accomplished such goal.   State the collective wisdom that helped accomplish the goal.   Highlight innovation and game-changing decisions that help differentiate your company.  Individuality is great, but in a team sport of having many people working on your project, you need to make sure the team feels recognized and appreciated.

Leaders Who Listen


Take a moment and think of a leader you admire. Focus on how he/she interacts with their audience.

Does the leader listen and provide undivided attention? Or, does the leader at times cut off the other person in the middle of conversation?

Not to take any sides in politics, but former President Bill Clinton has the gift of captivating the attention of the person he is talking to by looking at the person intently like no one else is around them. By doing this, he makes the person feel special.

As Stephen Covey says, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” I personally have done this many times; I listened to respond, instead of listening to learn. As I became aware of my mistakes, I put an effort to listen carefully. At that point, I learned that I was indeed listening, but not understanding, when I experienced that I failed to remember some of the points that were discussed.

I decided to understand the different barriers to listening to help me avoid them: distractions, for example, such as anyone doing something and making noises; emotions that affect effectiveness; inattentiveness; and lack of clarity. By understanding these barriers, I’m able to focus.

A leader listens to receive, retain, process and translate the message. You’ll notice that great leaders are good listeners because they are not afraid to repeat what they heard to ask for confirmation. They also look into non-communication forms like facial expressions, gestures, and body language to get a complete picture.

How Does A Leader Demonstrate Effective Listening?

A leader:

  1. Always maintains eye contact (most important).
  2. Uses body language to demonstrate that he/she understands what is being communicated by nodding.
  3. Asking questions to clarify the points.
  4. Repeating the message to receive confirmation.

To be a good leader, one must master the art of listening. By developing this skill, over time you’ll slowly head in the right direction.

Let me know your thoughts on my post. Do you agree? If you don’t, please share your thoughts.

Tell me about a time when listening impacted you!

Leadership in Action


Coworkers discussing a fileI find it interesting seeing people wanting to be leaders like it is the first-place position in a race.  Each one is vying for that coveted position to be able to lead and tell people what to do. A position that has an aura of power and authority that is bestowed upon them, that enables them to give commands that their people have to follow and carry out.

Such demonstration of intense focus to gain power is akin to purchasing a house, thinking that once the house is purchased it is the end of the journey. But that is far from the truth. While the initial act of purchasing a house requires a huge financial outlay, the work that comes after that is even bigger and more demanding.

After the purchase one has to tend to the needs of maintaining a property, like mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, trimming the bushes, planting and caring for the plants, raking leaves, shoveling the driveway during winters and the overall upkeep of the house inside and out. All the ensuing activities are often not clear until the purchase is completed because the intense focus of acquiring it shifts the focus to the house itself.

As John C Maxwell said, “Leadership is action, not a position.”

Most folks fail to realize that there is a lot required of them after they arrive at the destination and are given the opportunity to lead others. They have to serve their constituents; they need to spend a great deal of time and managing people is not easy. As a result, they fail at it because they don’t have a clear picture of what they need to do.

Therefore it is important for leaders to educate their constituents about the work that is ahead of the folks who desire to be leaders. Just like purchasing a house, the single act pales in comparison to the commitment you need to dedicate time to serve and lead others. Until you realize the effort needed and learn what lies ahead, it is best to take the time in your journey to equip yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge to make it happen.

I make it a point to mentor my people of the importance of the work that lies ahead and the commitment that is needed to get there.

John C. Maxwell said that as we move up, we have to give up and do more time with and for our people. Unless one realizes the work needed ahead, they will certainly fail in leading their people. If you’re willing to sacrifice your time and develop people, that is when you should contemplate being a leader.

One must develop the heart of serving others and growing talent around them. It is the best gift they can give to their constituents to help them grow and develop.

Writing is a labor of love, if you agree with my post let me know your thoughts. If you disagree, let me know your perspective, I look forward to learning from you.

What are your thoughts regarding the demands of leadership?

Marginalize through specialization



It is that time of the year where most people work on their New Year’s resolution.   At the same time, people who work for companies also anticipate their performance review discussion to know how their managers think they do during the year.   This is a perfect time to review your three-year plan and assess how you’ve perform in the prior year.   What three year plan? Most people are so focused on getting their job done that they fail to plan for themselves.   In the absence of a plan, you are working on someone else’s plan.

While some people find their way in their career, at times in a roundabout way, it is best to have a plan. A plan that guides you and states what needs to be accomplished and when it needs to be done, the sequence, and has measurable action items to assess how you’re doing.   As you create your plan, what do you want to be in 5 years? Map out what is it you’re passionate about. What energizes you every day? Create a plan accompanied by a timeline that states when you need to do what.

Once a plan is created, you need to step back for a few days and let it sit for a couple of days. Why? To let yourself reassess whether what you wrote is indeed what you want.   This is important because it allows you to think through your dream and passion and how to best apply it. As you analyze your plan, check if you are focusing too much on a narrow segment of a particular field. Why is this important to assess your focus?   You could very well be moving yourself into a corner. The problem is you might be too specialized, which might pay dividends in the near term, but because it is too specialized, when the market trend changes, you might be left behind.   You can move yourself to the corner of specialization, but make sure you’re facing outside and observing what the next trend that you need to embrace is.

Specialization is a good thing, because companies pay top dollar for specialized skills, but over specialization without a plan can caused you to be out of date in a few years. It is imperative that you maintain your specialization while being on the lookout as to what is upcoming and determine the merit to upgrade your skills. I’ve worked with people who specialized and stayed with the same technology until one day that technology was no longer used, at which point they were not programed to learn and had a tough time learning new things.

If you don’t have a plan, create one today.   If you have a plan, review and update it. Make sure that you’re not over specializing to the point your skill will be obsolete. Remember that if you’re not learning and developing, you’re falling behind.   Unless you’re three to five years from retiring, you really need to brush up your skills.

Let me know what you think of my post. Share with your friends or let me know your thought. I can always learn from you. Have a great day!



5 Ways to Overcome Common Reinvention Obstacles


I’m excited to have another guest post on my site. For most folks, we change careers at some point during our journey.   Without someone to guide us, this journey will be filled with trials and errors.   Let me introduce Hollis Thomases. She is founder of ReinventionWorks and creator of Mega Reinvention 2016, the preeminent online confab for career transformation. She’s passionate about helping people find their next future. Connect with her on Twitter @hollisthomases

RW_5 Ways to


I view reinvention as intention change; as deliberately pivoting away from something you know towards an unfamiliar path. I’ve reinvented myself professionally at least twice before (three times if you count the almost instantaneous pivot I had to do after my last career reinvention), and I’ve reinvented my life significantly at least once. I’m no stranger to reinvention obstacles, and I don’t shy away from them. It’s not that I love jumping hurdles, but I know well enough by now that if you plan to reinvent, you have to accept upfront that obstacles will be part of your reinvention process.


The reinvention journey – the path you will follow in order to transform your future – might be one of the most arduous things you deliberately choose to undertake. You will experience joy, liberation, fear, discomfort, and many, many decision trees. It’s why reinvention stories make for such great stories and movies.


The obstacles that will be thrown in your way vary from person to person and situation to situation, and therefore we can’t necessarily predict and prepare for them. There are some things that you can do, however, to help you overcome these obstacles.


  1. Get your self-reflection on. The reinvention process will force you into self-reflection, of this I am certain. Many people, however, are uncomfortable being self-reflective. Your mind may be a walled garden you have intentionally ignored for many years to protect yourself from feelings and emotions you’ve been unprepared to handle. I will tell you that now is the time to reckon yourself to this discomfort, to embrace it, and to start early. The sooner you become familiar with your sources of discomfort and the areas in which you feel weak, the better off you’ll be able to also conquer your other reinvention hurdles.


  1. Muster your courage. Just as you might need to talk yourself into doing something to confront an everyday fear – from taking a perilous roller coaster ride to boarding a plane to fly – you need to fortify yourself for your reinvention journey. Change is already a scary proposition for most people, but intentionally changing away from the known into the unknown can either be terrifying or exhilarating…or a little bit of both. Why not think of your reinvention journey as one big “excellent adventure,” so you’re thinking of working up your courage for something fun?!


  1. Tap into your creativity. Sometimes reinvention feels like one big complicated algebraic word problem (remember those? Ugh!). There’s just one problem to solve after the next after the next. Your reinvention journey will require ingenuity, creativity, and old-fashioned street smarts to get you over, through, or around the next hurdle. To unleash that power, do the kinds of things that let you free your mind and find answers (or at least the path to the answer). That might be taking a walk or taking a nap. It might be reading a good mystery novel or doodling on a pad of paper. It might be cooking a gourmet meal, or it might be lifting weights. Whatever “that” thing is for you, just do it…and do it a lot.


  1. Be adaptable. If “the only constant is change,” then, by its sheer nature, the reinvention process invites steadily constant change. Just when you think you may have figured something out, you’ll realize you have it wrong. There’s generally a lesson in what you got wrong, so use that lesson and adjust course. A sailor at sea cannot control the wind, so when the wind changes direction, she must adjust her sails. And when the wind dies altogether, there are motors, oars, and currents to take advantage of. Doing nothing for very long, however, isn’t a viable option.


  1. Seek support. No one reinvents alone. Time and again, Reinventionists talk about the support they received that allowed them to see themselves through to the end of their journey. That support comes from different places: spouses, family, friends, community groups, resource centers – even perfect strangers. When you’re reinventing, you cannot be bashful. You’ve got to get out there, let people help you, and better still, ask for help.


If you’re in need of help, I encourage you to check out Mega Reinvention 2016, the 100% online video conference coming this January. Its curriculum of 25+ sessions, spread out throughout the month (1/2 – 1/31/16), was designed to touch on all of these obstacles of career reinvention, particularly for people in the middle of their careers.


Will 2016 finally be the year of your reinvention??

Closing the Year


The end of the year means different things to many people. For a company, it means focusing on wrapping up the books and making sure they achieve the sales target for the year. For individuals, it could mean assessing the current year and planning for the next year.   It could also mean making another New Year’s resolution, which will be tackled with much enthusiasm in January through March then dropped thereafter.

To me, the year end is a time to take stock on how I did this year.   Here is what I look for:

  • What are my greatest learnings? Focus on lessons learned and avoid the same mistakes.
  • What did I do wrong that caused the most grief or trouble? Ouch! How can I prevent it?
  • What did I do well? I need to continue that next year.
  • What relationships did I establish? How can I continue to make them better?
  • How did I add value to my mentees and the people I coach?
  • What is the most important lesson that I learned this year?
  • Which member of my inner circle added value to the team?
  • Which member of my inner circle needs to be pruned? Because they no longer add value and share the same vision.

Closing the year is a time to sit down and compare things. How did the Will of 2014 stack up against the Will of 2015?   Did I grow spiritually? Did I learn and apply my knowledge? What other areas can I improve on?   My biggest win this year is learning from the people I coach and mentor.   Their different perspectives and viewpoints helped me expand my understanding.

In closing, how was your year? What made you smile? What made you cry? I hope you’re pleased with your progress.   It is time to review and plan what you want to achieve next year. Check your multi-year plan and adjust accordingly. May 2016 bring you good health and success.

Developing Confidence


I’ll begin with this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

It is a great quote which reminds us that without our acknowledgement no one can put us down. However, it is easier said than done.

Confidence, although it sounds simple, is not simple at all. It is complex and it is not biased. Many people from all walks of life suffer from lack of it. Some find their way while others continue this lonely journey until the end.

Many folks go through life failing to realize their potential because they lack confidence. These people are not dumb or inept; they are bright and have achieved great marks in their academic pursuit. However, confidence is still lacking. Why?

Confidence is something that is shaped by your environment. The people you’re around and those who influence you. It is also attributed to life events and things that occurred in your life.

Growing up, I had my fair share of suffering lack of self-confidence. In my situation, it was the people close to me who affected me the most. I was not the brightest or the smartest amongst the children of my parents. The strong emphasis on academic achievement was the key measure used by my parents.

I was told repeatedly that I wasn’t smart like my siblings, that I would not be able to accomplish things in life and that my future would be bleak. People around us, including teachers, often made comparisons that I wasn’t as good as my siblings. It did not help at all. People’s perception becomes your reality when things seem to be falling into place which further reaffirm everyone’s perception. It took me many years to snap out of it.

How Do You Develop Confidence?

    • Loving Yourself – Acknowledging that you have a unique talent and abilities, that you exist in this world for a specific reason. Seek to find that meaning and be at peace with it. It is a journey and the more you do the more you get to know yourself. It is like peeling an onion; each layer enables you to know more about yourself.
    • Believing In Yourself – We are all born with unique gifts and talents. No one knows you better than yourself. Remember when you say you can’t, you’re really not able to do it. It is worth noting that world records are not created because people who said I can’t.
    • Take Stock, Start Small, Go One By One – Take Stock of things you cannot do. Then start small and tackle one of them. According to William Jennings Bryan, “The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.” This is exactly what I did. Now, instead of thinking “I cannot do it,” I go ahead and do it and challenge myself. If I used to study three hours, I add one more hour and examine the outcome. If I can’t learn it one way, I ask someone for help and offer to help them too. Little by little you start to develop the competency and strength to improve your self-confidence.
    • Don’t Wait – Do It Now – Don’t wait until everything is just right to start. It will never be perfect and the more you wait the more you’ll fall deeper in the hole of lack of confidence. Remember, building something requires you to start somewhere. Do it now even though you’re afraid. Remember that for each positive outcome, you’ll develop confidence. No matter what happens, life always has challenges and obstacles.
    • List Your Strengths & Weaknesses – Continue to showcase your strengths and create an action plan on how you will address each of your weaknesses. By turning weaknesses around, you’ll begin to feel better about yourself. Remember that preparation is your friend. Waiting and doing nothing is your enemy.
    • Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself – There is clearly nothing accomplished by feeling sorry for yourself. You start feeling sorry for yourself, hours and even days elapse; nothing changes and you’re still in the same situation. Therefore, what is the benefit of spending your precious energy in an unproductive exercise? Pick yourself up and dust things off and get back on the saddle. You can do it only if you do something about it.
    • Ask For Help – We are not alone in this world, although we might feel that way sometimes. Ask for help, seek guidance and don’t do it alone.
    • Celebrate Each Small Win – Learn to recognize that a big accomplishment consists of daily habit and practice. Therefore learn to enjoy your accomplishments and uplift your spirit.

I’ll close with this:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be yourself and overcome the fear of what people will say about you, because chances are they are not paying attention to you. Do not cloud your mind with worry when you can spend the same amount of energy making yourself better and achieving things you otherwise thought you could not accomplish.

In the end, when we conquer our fears, we will come out of our cocoon ready to tackle the world. Writing is a labor of love, share this to your friends who you think need a pick me up and a catalyst to jumpstart themselves.

No. 1 – Burning Desire with Definite Plan


I’m an avid golf fan and during Tiger Woods prime years 2002-2008, I was amazed by his discipline, training and mental toughness that enabled him to stay on top for a long time. He revolutionized golf by incorporating physical training as a big part of it. Before Tiger joined the PGA, it was not common to see chiseled men playing golf, in fact it was the opposite, big men with protruding bellies playing golf. Tiger had three major impacts on golf: 1) Integration of fitness as a daily regime, 2) Increase in prize money, and lastly 3) Increase in fan base, as more young people started to think that golf is cool.

When Tiger was young, he set a goal that he wanted to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors. He still has a long way to go, having won 14 by age 40, but he has won more tournaments than any active golfers out there. Back then, setting that goal and articulating it was a bold statement. Many people might have wondered who he was and if he could be out of his mind. Because he has a burning desire and a definite plan to succeed, coupled with the fact that he surrounded himself with people that were there to help him along the way, he was able to make progress and make an impact in the sport he loved.

On September 20th, 2015, Jason Day supplanted Rory McIlroy as World No. 1 golfer. Jason Day started golf at 13, which is too late for modern golf standards when kids are starting at 2, 4 or 6 years old. Tiger Woods was his idol. When he was 20 years old, he talked about his desire to overtake Tiger Woods. In 2007, Tiger was at his prime. Because of Jason’s statement, he suffered some backlash when people questioned his capability to achieve such lofty goal. He spoke to his coach and asked what he said that was wrong. Jason was really upset.

What people don’t know is that Jason’s burning desire is intense to be the world’s number-one golfer. He also had a definite plan. He surrounded himself with people like long-time coach and caddie Colin Swatton. His plan consisted of four categories: technical, tactical, physical and mental. Mental was the last stage. This year he had a couple of close calls at Saint Andrews. Over the last three months, he finally gained mastery of the mental aspect of his game and that started a series of wins, including the PGA and subsequently two Fedex cup tournaments by a large margin. The plan called for being number one at age 22, however he made it at 27. What’s the lesson to be learned?

  1. Do not deviate from your plan – if you’re making progress. It might take a long time to get there, but each step is part of the overall journey.
  2. Continue to believe in yourself – no one knows you better than you do, so if you believe you can do it, prove everyone wrong and make it happen.
  3. Don’t be afraid – declare your plan and challenge yourself to get it done. When people know your plan, you have nowhere else to go, but prove to them that you can get it done.
  4. The right people – choose the right people to be on your team who have your best interest at heart. Do not let other people use you. Make sure you trust your people to have your best interest at heart.
  5. Patience – we all want to achieve our dream yesterday. We can’t wait to make it happen, but it does not work that way. It will came when the time is right. You need to be persistent and make it happen.
  6. Winning mindset – you need to have a winning mindset. Yes, you cannot win them all, but you cannot go out there and play for the sake of playing. Just like my daughter’s golf Coach Jun Espiritu always said, “Practicing is not about hitting many balls. It’s about making the most of each shot. Imagine each ball is costing your dad 20 cents. Each time you hit the ball without going through your routine, it’s like throwing away 20 cents at a time. Are you willing to throw away your dad’s money?” Since then our driving range practice consists of 68 balls (medium bucket).


Everyone has dreams. The difference between those who make it and those who don’t is the burning desire and having a definite plan coupled with the discipline to make it happen. I find Napoleon Hill’s quote appropriate, “Success requires no explanations; failure requires no alibis.” When we dream and don’t do the work, we have no one else to look to for the result. As long as you work on your plan and be persistent, you will eventually achieve your goal. Throughout your journey, you will be tested. It depends on your courage and determination to see your dream through. Decide what is important to you and dig deep to make it happen.

To close, I’ll leave you with this saying by Napoleon Hill, “If you don’t conquer self, you will be conquered by self.” If you have no discipline, you will never achieve your dream, because your current habit will rule your life.

A great day – a lesson is learned


Drive Chip and PuttJuly 16, 2015 today was a great day, for a lesson has been learned that will be important for years to come. My daughter Faith has been playing golf for three years now. Each year I observed that she made progress and her love for the game continues.

Two years ago, I saw the Drive Chip and Putt at the Masters on TV.   It consists of the best young golfers representing different parts of the US.   I mentioned that to my daughter and she said she wanted to give it a try.   We did and the first two years yielded tough lessons and heartbreak for her.   She knew that she has a long way to go to achieve her goal.   Last year we decided to change coaches. The objective was to find someone who could spend more time with her and help her develop her skills.   We were introduced by Faith’s friend mom to Coach Jun Espiritu.   He coaches at the PGA tour in Paramus.   Faith started to improve because she is learning the logic of the game. The game is not about hitting the ball around the course, but rather understanding how to adjust and maneuver through the situation presented. Dealing with the situation and making it happen.

Faith has been preparing for the Drive, Chip and Putt for a couple of months now. This journey started when, right after last years’ event, we changed to a new coach and the transformation started this year. Early this year she made it a goal to make the next round.   Last night she had a lesson with her coach. When I arrived from work, I asked her if her stuff was ready.  She checked her stuff and realized that her glove was missing.   We looked everywhere but could not find it.   We look through her old stuff and found an old pair, thinking she could use it on Thursday.

When we arrived at Galloping hills, we bought a bucket of balls and proceeded to warm up. After hitting about a dozen of shots, she complained her hand hurt. She took the glove off and there was a blister on one of her fingers. She said it was painful. I accompanied her to the club house to ask for a Band Aid and I decided to buy a new glove. She said the blister hurt and was bothering her.   I thought to myself, all this work came down to a blister that could potentially ruin it for her. I told her to take a deep breath. I reminded her that she worked hard to get here that she needed to block it out and dig deep. To be successful, at times we must work through adversity to know ourselves and what we can be capable of. She said she would give it a try. One of her drives was over 200 yards. Three skill challenges later, she was moving on to the next round. She was so happy to place 3rd overall at the local qualifier. She was 2nd in Driving and 3rd in Putting.   She learned a valuable lesson in dealing with adversity and learned that she is capable of achieving great things.

When a lesson is learned, it is always a great day. We’re so proud of our daughter. ⛳️

Do Not Do List – What is holding you back?


Last week, I was teaching part three of the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth to our constituents at our company.   As I was presenting, one topic, what came to mind is the “Do Not Do List.”   Like anyone, I often struggle as I work at overcoming some of my weaknesses in life.   This is a daily challenge and I persevere to keep at it.   So I thought it would be appropriate for me to write my blog on this topic.

What is a do not do list? It is a list of things that are holding you back.   It could be habits, practice or behaviors that prevent you from making progress.   On my list procrastinating is number one. I have the tendency to put things off because I think that I can get it done tomorrow.   This habit has caused me a lot of trouble because I failed to accomplish the things that I need to do, therefore I cannot move to the next step.

Here is how you create your list

  • On a piece of paper, fold it in the middle.   Write weaknesses on the top left section and action item on the right side
  • List your weaknesses – these are habits, behaviors and practices that are holding you back
  • For each weakness – write it on the left side of the paper and on the right side list action items that you need to do to improve or eliminate your weakness.  More importantly, state when you will work on it.
  • List the impact of each item to your life – how much impact does it have in your life? Does it hold you back?   Mark it as High—very impactful, Mid— impactful, Minor—little impact, that holds you back
  • Prioritize – do this by marking the most impactful first. High impact to minor impact.
  • Start now – don’t wait another day. Start now and make it happen.
  • Persevere and be persistent – do not stop and be persistent.   Consistency is the key to your success.

Once you have the list, you need to change your habit and the things that you do in your life. In order to make progress, we must change our habits.     There will be days we don’t feel like working on our weaknesses, but a day wasted means we are day away from achieving our goal.   I advise that you keep at it and be persistent.

Writing is a labor of love, share this to people you now will benefit from reading it. Let me know if it works for you by commenting on my post.


What would you do? Unsportsmanlike conduct


March Madness did live up to its expectation.   My two favorite teams made it to the final four. Kentucky and Wisconsin are my favorites. I had picked Kentucky to win, however Wisconsin was clearly hungrier and wanted it more.

After Wisconsin won a fierce match against Kentucky, what transpired after left me shaking my head. How could Coach Calapari let his team walk away without shaking hands with Wisconsin’s players?   I understand that the players will be upset when you lose a big game, but sportsmanship is the ultimate reason why we play the sport.     I was surprised that Coach Calapari would let some of his players walked off the court.   As a coach, he is the leader and leaders should hold their people to a high standard.

I’ve been coaching for three years and I always stress the importance to our players that we will win and lose graciously.   While we will be upset, we will honor our opponent and respect them,    because they earned the win.   I will never tolerate anyone on my team disrespecting our opponent.

What ensued made matters worse. During the press interview, one of the star players for Kentucky was heard saying profanity on live microphone.    I find that inexcusably rude and disrespectful. What did Coach Calapari teach his player? It is unimaginable that they could be high draft picks entering the NBA draft when they don’t have the basic manners needed.   I put this back on Coach Calapari’s shoulders, that he needs to step up and rectify this.   We expect better from his players and know that they need to be held to a standard like everyone else.   The loss was a huge disappointment, but the is totally unacceptable.

As a leader, you need to make sure that your team understands that they are upholding a certain standard.   That any unsportsmanlike conduct will be dealt with accordingly and no stone will be left unturned.     As an athlete, they are role models whether they like it or not.   They need to step up and be accounted for.

If you’re the head coach, what would you do? How would you provide an effective feedback?   I felt that the moment it happened was the perfect time to teach your players a lesson.   It is more impactful to deal with it right after it happens than doing a postmortem.     As Vince Lombardi says, “The strength of the group is the strength of the leaders.”     With that said, the leader should be the role model and carry the team in good and bad times.



I’ll start my post with John Maxwell’s quote, “The best you can hope to do in life is to make the most out of whatever you’ve been given.”     This is part of the law of intentionality.   It means that in order for you to make progress, you must be able to work with what you’re provided.

Over the past seven years, as I embarked on the journey on my passion for talent and leadership development, I started to blog, share my inspirational quotes through various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. My aim was to inspire others to believe in themselves and bet on themselves to succeed.   And at the same time to stop listening to those who tell them it cannot be done.   When we don’t value ourselves, no one will.   No one will raise value unless we do it ourselves.

As I touch on the topic of chasing your dream, it is worth nothing that your dream must be realistic.   I excchanged messages with someone I respect on this topic that we cannot just tell everyone to chase your dream.  That if someone worked hard and never gave up, they would achieve their dream.   What if your dream is not realistic? What if the person doesn’t have skills and experience to ever achieve it? That would mean we are giving false hope.

Here are some of the points I want to highlight:

  1. To dream is great because it inspires you to pursue something, but make sure it is realistic. That it is attainable.
  2. Create a plan – create a plan on how you will achieve your goal. Make sure to track your progress throughout the year and continue to adjust your plan.
  3. Create a training plan – a training plan is needed to move you from point A to B. You need to gain new knowledge and skills to get to the next level.
  4. Bet on yourself – if you don’t believe in yourself, no one will.   Be confident of your talent and capabilities
  5. Seek a mentor – if you’re trying to learn something or the ropes on how things are done, seek a mentor.
  6. Seek a coach – if you’re experienced and seek to move up to the next level, seek a coach.
  7. Be positive – be realistic but be positive and focus on the lesson learned from mistakes and move forward. Avoid people who aim to bring you down.

In closing, I want to encourage everyone to aspire and dream. Bet on yourselves and keep at it.   As long as you’re making progress, you need to continue your journey.   I will urge everyone not to give up at the first sign of defeat and to keep at it until they get the job done.

Be Nice


As the holiday comes around, it seems that the yuletide season softens people’s hearts and people become friendly and kind.   I observed that people tend to say hi and hello more than other times of the year.   I’m puzzled by this phenomenon as it does not make any sense to me, akin to being fake or putting on a front.   I think people need to be consistent regardless of the time of the year or occasions.   Occasions might make the person friendly, but rather what’s inside the person should be the guiding light.   As I always mention to my daughters, you need to be consistent no matter what.   Who we are is what matters more than the situation that is around us.

To those who read my blog, I challenge you to a kindness challenge.   Be kind each day no matter that situation and circumstances.   For you’ll never know how your kindness will affect other people. More importantly you don’t know the lasting impact of your kindness and how it can change someone’s life. This world can be mean and cruel when people don’t care about others.   Do we need to throw our weight around? I don’t think it does anyone any good.   Kindness is the currency that can make this place a better place.

Share your kindness and let someone know you care. It does not cost anything; in fact being kind does not cost you anything.   I urge everyone to challenge two of their friends and let’s spread kindness.


Doing the right thing


Play-nicelyI’ll start my post with a quote from Oprah Winfrey, “Real Integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”     In life, we are often faced with challenges such as meeting people and stakeholder’s demands.   This creates a complicated situation in which some people will do certain things just for the sake of satisfying the majority but going against their personal values and beliefs.

In my over 24 years in the workforce, I’ve seen a myriad of things that people do just to make things happen. Some people do whatever it takes to get it done, like doing it at all costs. These sacrifices at times affect people’s life as they have to give up a lot to get things done. But just like anything else, you’re only as good as your current performance.   Prior performance is often forgotten; sadly yes, that is the reality we live in.   Furthermore, we see heads of public organizations and government figures getting in trouble because they did something they should not be doing.   This is also pervasive in the athletic world, where some athletes think they are above the law.

In sports, it is often a challenge when coaches focus so much on wins that it becomes the be all end all. When win becomes a measure of success instead of learning the skills to get better and improve future chances.   Because of the need to win, players at times play hurt or the coach will put in players who are hurt.   In doing so, you could sacrifice the future of the player.   In recent weeks, I’ve faced the same situation, my team was off to a slow start and our shots were not falling. In addition, my strategy was not working, coupled with one of my best player being injured.   A few days after the injury, we had another game.   I thought about playing her since she was available. In the end before I drove home from work, I made a decision to seat her.   As it turns out, our opponent never showed up and I ended up asking my team to have a scrimmage.

As I look back at that situation, what helped me make the decision was to think about the long term health of my player. I’d rather take a hit now than to risk my player having a further injury.   It goes back to doing the right thing regardless of the situation.   I’m thankful for the opportunity to be challenged and came out with an experience that further strengthens my commitment to doing the right thing.   As Ms. Winfrey says, doing the right thing is doing it regardless of anyone looking at you.   In essence it is a commitment that makes sure you stay true to your core values.

Writing is a labor of love, if you like my post, please share with other. If you don’t agree, let me know your viewpoint as I can always learn from you.

Being Positive


Each morning when I would kiss my two daughters good bye, at the same time I would say be positive, do your best and I love you.   On numerous occasions, they would come downstairs arguing about something. I would take those opportunities to explain to them that it is important to start your day right by being positive. There is no point in arguing, thereby ruining your day.

Why do I encourage them to be positive?   I do so because I believe that if you have a positive frame of mind, you can think through a situation and come up with better solutions.   In addition, your interaction with other people will be pleasant and rewarding in terms of knowledge exchange.   Here are some of the reasons why it is important to be positive:

  • Being positive helps you make good and informative decisions because your brain is not clouded with negative thoughts and emotions.
  • Avoid situations in which you have to apologize for something you say while you were upset.   Remember that when you say hurtful things to others, it is like driving a nail through the wood, you can always pull out the nail by saying I’m sorry, but the scar will stay forever.
  • If you’re having a bad day, people who come your way do not deserve to be mistreated.
  • By focusing on the positive side of the equation, you can keep things in perspective.
  • By being positive, you can attract people who want to interact and work with you.   It can also improve your overall performance over time because people want to be around you.
  • When things go wrong, applying negative thought will not really improve your situation. Assess your situation and step back and figure out your way forward.
  • Opportunities can only be seen by those who are ready for them. If you’re upset, you’ll never see good in others, thereby missing the opportunity to connect with others.

While I’m saying positivity is important, I know that I’m human, that I will have good and bad days.   But my point is I try my best to take control of my emotion and actions to the best of my abilities.  I’m a realist, but I learn a lot through my mistakes. I also learned that I can only make matters worse by acting inappropriately. Therefore it is important for me to make the right decision amid challenges unfolding in front of me.

Writing is a labor of love, if you like my post share it with your friends. If you don’t agree, let me know your thoughts. I always look forward to learn new things or gain new knowledge.   Thank you for your time.



I’ve been asked many times how I thrive with less sleep. My answer often is that it is not that I’m okay with less sleep, but rather the things that I spend my time on are related to my life passion, therefore it is not a chore for me.   In fact, in most cases, it does energize me and inspire me to put in the time. An example is writing blogs.

So what exactly are my interests? Here are my interests:

  1. For years I have developed a love for people. They are people who work and interact with me either directly or through matrix organization. At times, they are my work acquaintances.   I believe that people are our most important asset and that caring for them helps the organization achieve its goal.
  2. Mentoring – helping people understand the lay of the land and navigate the corporate landscape.   Enabling others to fit right in and achieve success early on in their tenure at the firm. Imparting knowledge to enable others to grow and develop.
  3. Coaching – for more experience folks, coaching is the key to their growth and development.   Coaching is used to improve awareness, set goals and improve performance.  It also helps others think through issues and figure out the way forward.
  4. Teaching – over the last six years, I developed the love for teaching. From Agile to leadership development, I realized that I love helping others grow and develop. My John Maxwell certification fueled my love to help others develop their leadership capabilities through John’s teaching.

My love for developing talent stems from the fact that I believe that if we develop our people, we can help them achieve their goal, thereby increasing our firm’s overall capabilities.   It is important for us to realize that collectively we can make things better.   By ourselves we can effect change, by our collective wisdom we can do more and move the needle in the right direction.

Writing is a labor of love. If you like my post, please share it. If you disagree with my viewpoint, share me your thoughts.

“ME” and “WE”


The age of Internet advancement brought about the expectation of having everything you want on the same day or, at the latest, next day.   This is coupled with marketing campaigns by companies that focus on you being at the center of their attention.   This creates the “ME” syndrome.

The “ME” focus does not become an issue until the new generation reaches the workforce, or what I called the real world.   In the real world, we work on projects that require us to collaborate to get things done. At this point the focus shifts from “ME” to “WE”.  They often struggle to understand that the need to address the need of the collective “WE” is at times more important that their personal desire.

As a parent it is important to strike a balance in teaching our children that the world doesn’t revolve around them.   Letting them know that they cannot have everything they want is equally important.   Sometimes people think that experiencing rejection is not a good thing. I’m of the opinion that giving our children a false sense of getting everything they want would be a disservice to them. The reality in life is that you don’t always get what you want. In fact, you might not get what you want at all. In that case how will your children cope with that situation when they face it in real world? It is better to get them ready than that they be naïve and believe that the world is their oyster.

It is important that we assist our children in understanding the expectation of things to come.   Doing so will prepare them for what to expect when they step into the real world.   Team play is key to their success.   By learning that early on they will increase their chance to succeed.

Seeing good in others


In recent weeks, I noticed a trend that bothered me. I’m not sure why I did not notice this in the past. It is not like this is a new phenomenon. It made me wonder what is going on; why am I noticing this more and more? Is this because of awareness? Have things really changed around me? I’m not sure I know the answer, hence the reason for this post.

Why do we fail to see the good in others?   When someone new joins a group, there is a tendency for existing people to find things that they can complain about. I’m not sure why they can only see the fault in the new person.   They missed the opportunity to see the value that this person brings.   Why do we spend all our energy critiquing this person? What is the purpose of taking the person down?   What is the benefit of channeling our energy and spending it toiling in negative emotion? A lot of energy is spent on unproductive things.

Take for example: we replaced someone with someone new. Ideally we need to give this person a chance to prove themselves, that they can get the job done. Instead of complaining that the new person is not strong or firm, we need to consider whether we have an upgrade from our original situation. Are we better off now than we were a few months ago? If the answer is yes, then work with the person to achieve your desired results.   It makes no sense for me to see people finding the fault in others, because it does not help the community or organization. Besides, are we that perfect that we think others should be perfect too.   It is a bit hypocritical of us to think that we are above everyone else.

When we focus our energy on negative actions, it is draining our energy and nothing good can come out of it. Whereas when we channel our energy on seeking the good in others, it can help us see opportunities that we otherwise don’t see because we stayed positive. It also can help us build a lasting relationship. As I wrote this post, Audrey Hepburn’s quote, “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others, for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness, and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” comes to mind. We can only see good in others when we’re intentional about seeking the good in others.

The next time you see people complaining about someone, encourage them to see the good in others. If the person has done very bad deeds, then that is a different story. Otherwise, try to see the good in others and you will notice that your mood will be uplifted. It takes more energy to be mad and upset, but it better be worth it when you’re upset and mad. Remember that you have the choice.   When you’re upset, the person you’re upset with is not upset, so why bother stressing yourself out?

Writing is a labor of love, if you like this post, please share it with your friends.

An Example of Poor Leadership


client-relationshipsAt the recently concluded Ryder Cup tournament, the U.S. was not able to stage the comeback needed to win the cup.   Win or lose, I’m still proud of our players.

I’m writing in reference to what transpired throughout the event, especially when the U.S. fell behind on Saturday. I certainly don’t question Tom Watson’s decisions, because as the leader of the group you have the prerogative to make the decision that you see fit.     The U.S. lacked energy and fell behind 10-6 going into the Sunday match play.     My memory is still fresh that the European team was able to stage a comeback from a similar deficit so I was confident that we could still make it happen.

After discussing and setting the stage for Sunday, the team presented Mr. Watson with a gift: a replica Ryder Cup trophy signed by all the players.   As noted by Yahoo news, Mr. Watson scoffed at the gift, suggesting that it meant nothing unless his team completed the comeback the next day.   Here is where his leadership fell short. While he is entitled to his frustration, he needed to continue to engage and inspire the team and promote an environment that helped the team uplift their spirits.

A leader is a tough position.   If it were easy then everyone could be a leader.   Often a leader is looked to as a source of inspiration and energy. When the chips are down, your constituents seek your guidance to keep them going.     When a leader says the right thing, no matter how bad the situation, the players listen and continue to do their best.   I’m by no means saying that the players lost focus because of what transpired, but it certainly did not help.

As I reflect on my experience, I vividly remember the 2012-2013 season when I was coaching St. Elizabeth’s 4th grade girls’ basketball team.   We had a great season heading into the playoff.   We faced some challenges in the semi-final, but we buckled down and pulled through.   Before we started the championship game, I told the girls to enjoy the moment and leave everything on the court. I mentioned that this was our moment and this was what we worked so hard for the last four months.   We started strong, leading by 4 by halftime; we played well, but had a hard time scoring in the second half.   Our opponent shut us down and our girls faced the adversity of trying to make things work. My assistant coach told me to let the girls know that it is okay to lose.   I told him that I refused to do that because there was still time on the clock and as long as there was time, we would never give up. With two minutes and 47 seconds left we were down by 4 points; I called a timeout.   I told my players that I believed in them, the question was did they believe in themselves. They yelled “Yes”. I told them to forget about what happened leading up to that point that the most important time was the next two minutes and 47 seconds.   One of my players named Maura went for a shot and was fouled. She calmly sunk the free throw. At last, we were down by one. I told them to play good defense to get the ball back.

We made a stop and executed a perfect fast break from my point guard Molly to our center Lauryn and the gym erupted with cheers from the parents of St. Elizabeth. We were now leading by one. I told my players not to foul, but continue to play good defense. We got the ball back and Selena threw the ball to the back court to Lauryn and the game ended.   I always look back to that last huddle and it brings a smile and joy to my heart. As the coach and leader of the team, I know it was tough to be in a situation where my team could lose the game, but I refused to quit, because I wanted the players to learn how to work through adversity.

Granting my experience is nothing like Mr. Watson’s, I still understand that a leader plays an important role in helping the team set up the tone and atmosphere.   As leaders, we are responsible for the team no matter what happens.   At the heart of leadership is sacrifice that is necessary if we want to lead others.   In the end, Mr. Watson wrote an open letter to everyone, but it was a bit too late.   The next time PGA picks a captain, I hope they consider the person’s leadership capabilities.   There is a saying that not all smart people can teach; sometimes they cannot make the subject simple enough for a layman to understand. The same is true in the workplace. The best technician does not make a good manager.   Therefore, the best player who has won many tournaments is not necessarily the best choice.   They need to take a page from Mr. John Wooden’s book on leadership that says, “People want to believe you are sincerely interested in them as person. Not just for what they can do for you.”

Writing is a labor of love; I’ve blog for 26 weeks in a row. I’m aware that people who read my post need to learn something therefore I do my best at all time. Feel free to share my post to your friends.


Seeking happiness


With the ever-changing financial landscape and advancement in technology, we have less time for ourselves because we are constantly connected.   Our employers are faced with the challenge of doing more with less and that translates to either longer work hours for their employees or finding more effective and efficient ways of getting things done.

One thing is certain: the days in which we have abundance of funding are gone.   Fiscal responsibility is front and center focus and the need to do more with less is being used as a competitive advantage.   Unfortunately, at times the laser-like focus on the bottom line shifts the need to think longer term to short term, thus missing some critical points. Hence the outcome is not always pleasant.

Amidst all the above challenges, is happiness attainable? Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Focus on your dream – Your dream serves as an inspiration to keep you going.   By keeping it front and center, you’ll be able to keep things in perspective. More importantly you’ll be able to prioritize things that come your way.   Remember the big rocks (see my prior post on it) in your life. During challenging times, it helps to keep our dream in mind, because it will enable us to buckle down and dig deep.
  • Make other people happy – When we add value to other people, it also helps lighten our mood. It does not take much to do this.   Showing appreciation, gratitude, and being there for others are simple ways that have lasting impact.   For people who are managers, seek to understand your people.   Understand what they seek to achieve in their work.   Work with them to accomplish their personal goals. Remember that a happy employee will ultimately benefit your customers.
  • Always strive to do your best – This is very important.   It does not matter how smart you are; if you don’t apply yourself, you will not reach your full potential.   The key to doing your best is not perfection.   It is the effort, commitment and dedication. Sometimes your best does not yield great results, but as long as you strive to be your best you can live with the outcome. More importantly, the progress you’ve made will keep you focused on moving forward until you achieve your goal.
  • Take care of yourself – Your body is your temple. No matter how much money you acquire, if you don’t have your health, nothing else matter. Because all the money you earned will be used to pay for healthcare costs. So take the time to take care of your body.   This is my biggest challenge. As I want to achieve many things in life, I often sacrifice sleep.   I’m fortunate that I’m still healthy, but I know that I need to correct this pattern. .   Akin to people taking medicine but continuing to eat greasy foods—if they slow down the intake of greasy foods, perhaps they would not need the medication altogether.
  • Don’t do the same thing over and over – As it relates to progress, at times we do something the same way, but expect that the results will change. There is a saying that it is insanity to expect different results from doing the same thing.   When you’re stuck, step back and evaluate your situation.   Maybe you need to rethink your position.   Evaluate and assess the situation and apply corrective actions; this way you can see the progress you’re expecting.
  • Be yourself – I’d like to remind that you’re not obligated to live up to everyone‘s expectation.   Being yourself will definitely lead you to being happy.   Sometimes we live to meet other’s expectations. That makes us feel like we are being watched and not measuring up to their expectations.
  • Life is not perfect – At times we want to make it better to the point that we obsess about it. By obsessing on it, we becomes rigid and lose our ability to adapt to change.   More important, we lose the ability to have fun with what we are doing because we focus on the score and nothing else. Just like in basketball, sometimes your best players are the ones that do not score. Your best defender can shut down your opponent and give you the chance to score and win.   I suggest, aspire to improve you each year, but don’t obsess and keep score to maintain your awareness and focus.
  • Change is constant – Expect that change will happen all the time. The best way to succeed is to understand what’s in it for you. If you believe in the change, help facilitate the change.   If you don’t buy in to the change, leave and walk away. Don’t stay if you don’t agree, because change will be done on your behalf and it is never good or pretty.   Your ability to adapt to change is key to your success.

Remember that happiness is a state of mind. When we focus on the positive aspect of the situation, we do see opportunities amidst chaos.   Negative emotion can consume and paralyze us to the point that we are oblivious to our surroundings.   To be happy, we must understand our priorities in life and act on the things that come our way based on our priorities.   There is no perfect situation and perfect time. What you have is the current situation to act and make decisions on based on what is important to you.

Everyone on this earth was given the same 24 hours.   What’s different between a happy and sad person is their awareness and the choices they make.   As Jim Rohn says, “The same wind blows on all of us. What matter is how we set our sail.”   The sail in our life is our attitude. To be happy, we need to understand our priorities and make decisions as it aligns to our dream.

Writing is a labor of love. If you like my post, share it with others. If you disagree, share your perspective as I look forward to learn and grow each day.

“For some people, they live through life seeking happiness.  Waiting for that day – the perfect moment.  What they don’t realize is that happiness comes from within, it is also a choice.  A choice to be happy with what you have and appreciate the things around you.    Don’t wait another day to be happy.  Count your blessing and be happy today.  For tomorrow is not guaranteed and you’ll miss the opportunity to share that beautiful SMILE :-)  that can brighten someone’s day and have a lasting effect in their life.”

-Will Lukang

Settling for something


Do not settleIn a recent call with my accountability partners from a training program, we were discussing the things that we needed to accomplish for the coming weeks.   I could sense that most of us were overwhelmed because we all have day jobs while trying to hone our skills to do what we love to do, which is coaching, training and developing leaders.

The program is very demanding in that we have homework, numerous calls and accountability partners that challenge and push us outside our comfort zones.   I myself felt that it is a bit too much, but I’m thinking to myself that if this were easy, everyone would be doing it already.   If this were just plain general knowledge when it would be worth nothing. The focus really is to acquire this specialized knowledge and make ourselves marketable in the area in which we are passionate.

As we discussed during the call, one participant suggested that we reduce the number of assignments. While I’m interested in the idea, I said to myself that, if we settle, we will not achieve our goal. Joining the program meant that we wanted to stretch and challenge ourselves.   Two weeks into the program we were compromising and settling. I explained to the team why it is not a good idea to settle; I also encouraged them to just give it their best shot, because I’ll do the same.

To achieve something in life, there will be sacrifices. It could be lack of sleep, time with love ones, relaxation time, etc. We need to weigh the value of achieving that goal. How important is that goal to us? Why does it matter that we achieve it?   It is then we decide the dedication and commitment we need to get it done. Once committed, we just need to follow through and be persistent.   Nothing can be accomplished when we quit too early.   As I explained to my daughter, we take a light bulb for granted because it is there every day. If Thomas Edison quit after failing over a thousand times, we would be sitting in the dark with a gas lamp today.   Is that prospect better? Think about it. If it is easy, everyone would be doing it and there will be no value in doing it. The key to a successful career is gaining that specialized knowledge that allows you to differentiate yourself from everyone else. Differentiation is the key and you can only achieve that by continuous learning and being focused on your goal.

As Jim Rohn says, “If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” To be ordinary, you’ll be in the middle of the pack. Is that what you aim to achieve? If that’s what you want, that is perfectly fine, but progress and dreams cannot be achieved in such a manner.   As John F. Kennedy said, “Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.”   Our mind is very powerful; when we settle, our opportunity also decreases significantly.

I see every day that people settle for less than they deserve.   They do this because they are comfortable and just want to go with the flow. The reality is that everything around us is changing and progressing. Staying in your place is not going to help you. In my opinion, they are partially living their dream, and partial can never equate to fulfillment.   I do believe that every person has potential for greatness; however, it is only possible if you push the envelope and make it happen.

Writing is a labor of love. If you like my blog, please share it with your friend. If you don’t agree, share your thoughts and comments.


Do Not Do List


Do not doWhen I was growing up, I suffered from an inferiority complex where I always felt like I wasn’t good at anything.   This stemmed from the fact that I grew up in an environment where academic results were a key indicator of your love and appreciation.   I was told day in and day out that I was not smart and would never amount to anything, that the family convenience store would be my future because I wasn’t capable of greater accomplishment.

When people tell you something so many times, at some point it will be like a fact or reality to you, because it was repeated so much and programmed in to your sub conscious mind.   You start to behave and act the way that reinforces what was expected of you.   During that time, everything seemed normal, but the daily struggle of coping and feeling worthless continued to dominate my daily life.   I often questioned why I bothered going to school when my outcome was already confirmed. Why suffer and take those exams to then yield the same result?

Looking back, I would say that I didn’t know better.   I was not equipped to discern that I could influence the outcome. In my junior year in high school I turned things around and started believing in myself.   My teacher encouraged me and gave me the nudged to prove that I could accomplish more.   It is by no means that I figured out that I was smart, because I’m still not to this date. However I realized that I can do more than what I was programmed to believe in.

Back then, I started a proving-myself list. It is similar to a do-not-do list in that I list the names of people who doubted me and aim to prove that I can get it done. Each time I prove to someone that I got the job done I will cross out that name.   It took a while to see results, but I was patient and focused.   It is my laser-sharp focus and consistent results that helped me get to where I am in my career.

Over the last twelve months, I’ve focused on my do-not-do list. You might ask: what is a do-not-do list? A do-not-do list is a list of things that you’re currently doing or behaviors that you’re currently exhibiting that are holding you back. It is causing you to get stuck, thus failing to reach your full potential.   By raising your awareness and proactively stopping those actions and behaviors, you’ll slowly move in the right direction and achieve your dream.

So, what’s on my list?   I’m sharing a piece of myself—this is tough one.   The top two items are self-limiting belief and procrastination.   What do I mean by self-limiting belief? My lack of confidence in myself often affects my ability to try new things and pursue new opportunities.   When a new opportunity arises, I often talk myself out of trying or putting my name in. Not sure why, but since I’m aware of this behavior, I in turn challenge myself as to why. It is a difficult challenge to build up one’s confidence, but through baby steps and continuous progress it can be achieved, but it’s difficult to make the behavior go away.   The second one is procrastination.   Many times I will say to myself that I will do it tomorrow, even when I planned to do the task today. There is always tomorrow, isn’t there?   Then tomorrow comes and I get really busy; I’ll do it again tomorrow.   I’ve committed to blogging once a week. Since April, I’ve completed 22 weeks to date, an amazing accomplishment in my mind, but along the way, I almost missed making the weekly post twice.

I’ve taught the do-not-do list to many people at work. To date, many of the folks who attended my class shared with me their perspective and progress.   They said that it made them realized that they have something to work on and understand why they were stuck to begin with.   Awareness it the gift of making this list; once you’re aware of it, you can decide to work on it. I’m proud to say that many of them are doing something about it.

As you read this post, what would be on your do-not-do list? How will that list shape your future? I’d like to hear your perspective.   Writing is a labor of love, if you like my post, share it with others. If you disagree, share me your perspective.

Play Your Cards Right


CardsWe all came into existence not because we chose to be, but we were brought into this world by our mother. Our circumstances vary and the upbringings were also very different.   As we grew up, we were exposed to the environment in which we were raised. The environment contributed to who we are and our values were inherited from the adults and other people who influenced us.

Must our upbringing define us?   I know I’m treading in a tricky topic, but I’m going out on a limb here. I’m of the opinion that our background and upbringing can help influence and shape us, but once we learn how to discern right from wrong, we are able to make decisions that help us achieve the dream.

Voltaire’s quote comes to mind, “Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her. But once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.”   I agree with Voltaire that you need to play with the cards that you are dealt with and make the most of it.   My father was born in a family of five children. He was the eldest. Growing up, my grandfather was never around for his family and my father had to work at an early age to help his mother.   My father became the sole provider of his family.   Imagine having to work when you’re eleven or twelve years old and being responsible for your family. When I asked my father why he did it, he said the need to help his family was a far greater cause that anything else.

When my father was 17 years old, he travelled to the Philippines to work in a hardware store and saved all his money to send to his family.   He spent the next 10 years doing the same thing day in and day out while also saving money to open his own convenience store.   As I reflect on what my father accomplished, I can’t help but remember Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” My father’s laser-sharp focus enabled him to achieve his goal and create a future for us.   He willed it and persevered each day.   He kept his focus no matter how long it took.

As Tony Robbins says, “The past does not equal the future.” That is truly possible if you want to change something in your life and proceed to make it happen. My father inspired me to push myself outside my comfort zone.   He encouraged me to strive to do my best regardless of my intellectual capabilities.   He insisted that I be diligent in everything I do.   It taught me hard work is the key to my success.   While I still have a long ways to go to achieve my dream, I know that we are all blessed with the same 24 hours each day.   What we do with our time will ultimately determine our outcome.   In essence we reap what we sow.

I’ll end this post by saying, we may be dealt a hand that we don’t like, but we can try to play those cards with diligence and dedication until we are done.   As long as we do our best, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Akin to basketball, you can’t worry about the previous missed shot; you need to focus on the next shot and do the best you can. Remember that our will and desire can help program our subconscious mind to pursue the things that are otherwise impossible.

Writing is a labor of love, if you like what you read, please share. If not, share me your thoughts. Thanks

You Reap What You Sow


reap what you sowThe girls are back in school. The next few weeks will be a transition period and then things will be back to normal.

This is often the time of the year in which I focus on market trends and observe things that transpire as another year comes to a close. “What?” you ask.   I often take this time to seek to understand what I need to learn, engage in, or stop doing.

As I assess what I need to learn, it is a future focus exercise. I want to plan for the future and be ready for a situation that’s coming up. I always remember that my dad used to say that you’re doing this for your future. While you cannot see or picture what your future looks like, have faith that it will be what you’ve working hard for.   In essence, you can only reap what you sow.   In my mind, this is the most important exercise and I see to it that I spend adequate time on this exercise.

The second one is what am I not doing that I need to be engaged in. This is a bit interesting, because this is one of those: go out, participate, and network.   After a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is network and talk to other people.   But I force myself to participate. In fact, I have two events that I need to attend to in the coming weeks.   This goes back to the saying that you can only reap what you sow.   Networking is a process not an event. It is something you do throughout time and not a one-time thing. It often amazes me when I meet people at an event and they will only ping me sometime later to ask for a job.   But between the time I met the people until the time they ask me for a job, they never both to drop a note to say hi.

Finally, check my do not do list.   This is really important because what are on this list are things that I’m still doing that are preventing me from achieving my dream.   If I don’t stop doing these, I will be stuck forever.   By taking stock as to what these are, I am aware of what I need to work on and how to improve myself.

Remember that you can only reap what you sow. If you desire something to happen in your life, you need to do something today and continue to do something tomorrow and the day after in order to achieve that dream.

Writing is a labor of love, if you like what I wrote, please share it. If you don’t agree, share me your thought.

Unplug on vacation


unplugFor the first time in many years, we went on vacation and I unplugged myself from work. At first, I was not quite sure how I would cope with it, but then I took a leap of faith and went along.

The trip included 4 days of cruise time in which I went without the daily connection and interaction of LinkedIn, FB, Twitter and WordPress. In jeopardy was my blogging streak, because I did not have Internet connection, as I got preoccupied by all the activities on the cruise and before I knew it the day was over. The first five days of our vacation went by really fast.   When we left the boat, I was reminded that I went without all the great tools for 5 days. The interesting part is that I did not miss it at all.

Over the next few days, I stayed disconnected from work until someone reached out to me. I was engaged in work for 4 hours, but after that I was able to not look at my blackberry and did not login to work for the rest of the trip.   I found that at times it is best to be disconnected. It helps rest your mind and recharge your energy.

Regarding my blog, I was able to post my blog on Humility on Leadership on Sunday. I guess the streak continues. As I wait for my flight to return home, I decided to blog on this post. Unplugging is at times the best way to recharge. In these days of technology advancement, it is great to realize the blessing of being able to spend time with your family and not be bothered by the lack of connection to the outside world.

While I enjoyed being disconnected, I ran into a mother on the cruise that mentioned that her two teenage children were upset because there was no Facebook on the cruise. I felt bad for the children, however I think this is a perfect opportunity for them to learn the skill of socializing and exercise their verbal communication skills. Another mother gave in and paid for the wifi connection on the boat. We later ran into her and she was complaining that the children used up $89 of Internet in less than two days.

Overall I learned a valuable lesson of being disconnected. It gives me time to reflect and assess what’s going on with my life. It is bittersweet that I’m blogging in a waiting area at the Orlando International airport waiting for my flight. New experience always brings about new learning. I suggest you unplug on your next vacation.


Humility in Leadership


Humility is defined as the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people: the quality or state of being humble. I’d like to focus on the words quality and humble because those two words are the essence of what true leadership is all about.
I’m amazed to read stories of how people who rose to a leadership position start behaving differently and end up mistreating their constituents. Here are some of the examples in recent times:
1) Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund and a leading French politician, was arraigned on charges of sexual assault.
2) Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd resigned for submitting false expense reports concerning his relationship with a contractor.
3) US Senator John Ensign resigned after covering up an extramarital affair with monetary payoffs.
4) Tiger Woods extra-marital affairs that caused his decline.
5) Just last week, Bubba Watson was in the news for his behavior on how he treated his caddy and his boorish attitude at the PGA.
One can argue that the degree of severity is different, but the root cause of their behavior is the same. They all starting feeling they are entitled and are above everyone else. I understand that there are a lot of demands on a leader day in and day out, but it is not an excuse to lose their humility. Here are some methods I believe would help you stay grounded:
1) Practice self-reflection – this will enable you to step back and reflect on your activities for the week and see where you did not do well and identify room for improvement.
2) Ensure you have an inner circle – your inner circle will be your confidant. They will be the people that guide you through the process.
3) Prune your inner circle – make sure none of your inner circle are pushing you in the wrong direction and giving you the wrong information. If they do, let them go. Make sure you’re surrounded by “yes man”.
4) Make tough decisions – leaders always make tough decisions. Sometimes it means letting someone go because you don’t share the same vision.

As C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” It means focusing on others and practicing the servant leadership. True leaders always aim to serve rather than be served. Sometimes what causes us to stray from our path is our thinking that we need to act tough. As Simon Sinek said, “Great leaders don’t need to act tough. Their confidence and humility serve to underscore their toughness.” It is important to be yourself and not lose yourself.

Writing is a labor of love. If you like my post, please share it with others. In addition, I also would like to hear your perspective.

Plan your career like planning your vacation


travel plansIn the recent class that I taught on 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, I pointed out to the participants that while the 21 laws is a leadership program, the underpinning of the program is personal development.

The class participants were a cross section of individual contributors to mid-level managers.   My objective was to let them know that even if you don’t manage anyone right now, you still need to learn what it takes to be a leader. More importantly, that self-improvement is crucial to their future success.   What they do now will greatly affect their future.

When I taught the third session, I asked the participants by show of hands, how many created their ‘DO NOT DO LIST’.   I was surprised that less than 1/3 created their DO NOT DO LIST and created a plan of action on how to improve themselves. I then followed up with a question: How many hours do they spend planning their vacation? Their eyes lit up and I could see the excitement and enthusiasm.     On average, they spent 20 hours preparing for their vacation; that’s almost three days spent to plan a vacation, but they could not be motivated to create a plan to help improve themselves.

Canadian personal development expert, author, and public speaker, Brian Tracy, once said, “If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.”     Remember that you can only harvest something if you plant the seeds.   Everything takes time to grow and develop; without proper planning you will always be at the wrong time even in the right place.   Imagine being in the right place, but at the wrong time; it means that you don’t have what it takes to get the job done.

career directions

As I look back to that moment, I decided to reiterate the value of planning. I stressed the importance of planning for your future.   I asked them the question: Would the fear of failing now be greater than the fear of failing to achieve your dream? It is a question only they can answer.   Remember that regret is always in the end.

Writing is a labor of love for me. If you like my blog, please share it to someone who need to read it.   It is through sharing that we can make this world a better place.   Also, feel free to share your thoughts and perspective.

Leader must give up


give upA leader is often the person that helps a team reach a goal that they otherwise thought they could not achieve.   They inspire everyone around them to act and persevere until the goal is achieved.   In many ways, their constituents look to the leader for encouragement and direction. Their guidance is what helps the team overcome adversity.

At times, people think that the leader has all the answers and is knowledgeable or a subject matter expert. If a leader falls into the trap of being all for everyone, they will not be successful.   In order for a leader to be effective and efficient, they need to give up and let go certain things.

Here are some of the things a leader must give up:

  • Making all decisions – leaders must empower their people that are closest to the problem to come up with solutions or recommendations, because they are the domain experts.
  • Let go – at times we are tempted to do everything ourselves, because we can get it done faster.   Also we deemed that the times spent on teaching someone can best be served addressing the issue. But that is a false expectation. If we don’t teach everyone around us to fish, they will always expect us to give them the fish.   It is best to invest the time to teach someone; this way they can help in the future.
  • Talking at all times – it is important to communicate, but it is equally important to listen.   By listening to your constituents, you will learn more about your audience and understand their challenges and identify opportunities.
  • Control – extend the ropes for your people to prove to you that they can get it done. However, always be there to support and nurture them. Be there to catch them when they fall, but let them learn the lesson before they move on.
  • Assuming perfection – you can try to be on top of the situation at all times, but you don’t have to be. You need to surround yourself with the right people to get things done. Knowing who to seek help from or tap to get things done is more important than trying to be the expert.


At times it is okay to give up; a leader must give up for the right reason. Empowering their constituents and investing the time to develop them will be key to the overall success of the organization.

Writing is a labor of love. If you like my post shares it with your friends or share your perspective, because it will help me grow and develop.

When grades no longer apply


gradesGrowing up we spend many years in school. During those years, we have quizzes, group projects and final exams. Back then it was easy to know where we stood and how we were doing.   At the end of the school year, we got a Grade Point Average to depict our performance for that school year.

As parents, we help shape the future of our children by sharing our knowledge, perspective, and providing guidance.   We can also provide them the foundation of what is it that they need to focus on. Like doing the right thing, religious foundation, be cordial, be respectful or striving to get A’s as symbols of academic excellence.   By focusing on getting A’s, we might influence what they would believe is the goal.

Few months back, my eldest daughter asked me what I meant by doing your best. Does it mean getting A’s? I took that opportunity to impress upon her that what I meant by doing your best is really doing your best at all times.   That would mean that sometimes your best is not an A and that would be okay.   The grade point is a guide and I want them to aim to get better grades each time, but doing their best is what matters the most.

Once they finish college, they are off to the real world in which there are no quizzes and grades to guide them throughout the year. In my opinion, without a proper transition, they are ill prepared to face the challenge of real world.   In the same light that I believe college should provide a course in personal finance, I believe that they also need to provide a course in entering the workforce.   Understanding that they need to be accountable for their career and own it.   How to receive a performance review and ask and receive feedback. Managing expectations and creating a career plan are all essential to enable them to succeed.

Do we want to create a workforce that understands that patience is a virtue and that you own your career.   Without that foundation, they will fail to realize their potential because they will expect other people to take an interest in their growth and development.   These days, doing more with less is the norm that leaves managers less time to focus on growth.   If we leave it to others to map our career plan, chances are it will not get done and we’ll be disappointed.


Big Rocks!


free-bible-studies-online-the-big-rocksEach day we wake up in the morning to go about our life.   The decisions we make invariably will contribute to the outcome of the day.   We go through the day and do things we thought were important to get done for that day.   Hopefully as the day progresses, you’re making progress and able to check things off.

The reality of life is that things are bound to change.   An urgent incoming call can alter your day—unexpected calls from school to name a few. Before you know it you’re doing things that were not on your list when you started your day.   A mad rush to get things done that are not on your list and lo and behold the day is over. The list that you started the day with is what you have at the end of the day. Does that sound familiar? Yes, I felt that way in the recent past.

Many people demand our time.   Unless we know our priorities, we can get sucked into other people’s demand of our time. The more we offer, the more people take more of our time. In this world, there are givers that give all the time and takers that do nothing but take from everyone around them.   I’ve fallen victim to people demanding my time and I end up working on things that do not add any value or help me achieve my goal.

Until one day, I decided enough is enough.   I need to do things that contribute to my big rocks. The big rocks are things that matter to me the most, like my family, my dream, my aspiration and passion.   The day I put my foot down is the day I felt I’ve made progress with my life. By no means have I turned the corner and become fully independent, but I do say “NO” when I have to.

So, how did I do it? I start my day by imagining my dream.   As my mentor Paul Martinelli says, “Hold your image.”  I hold the image of my dream and let that set for a moment. Let it inspire me to be more aware of what I do and the decisions I make. Understand that each decision made either brings me closer to my dream or pushes me back a step or two. Bring my big rocks front end center, this way I am conscious about it.   Believe me it did not happen overnight. It took days, weeks, and months, until I mustered the courage to say “NO” to people. At times, no is not the answer, but rather disrupting you now, when later can I do the work for others.

It took a lot of time to get to where I need to be, but I feel that the progress made has made me more conscious of the choices I made and how I can influence my progress to get to where I need to be.

Big rocks…remember your big rocks. Hold that image each day and make it stick.   Be conscious of your decisions and make sure that you are working toward achieving your dream.   If you are aware of your priorities, it makes making decision easier.

Are you ready to focus on your big rocks? What would you do differently tomorrow? How can I challenge you to take your first step?

AIM program – Step 3- Making It Happen



Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen others make it happen.” Michael Jordan


This is the final segment of my three part series of my AIM program.   Before you read this post, I recommend that you to read the following posts:

  1. Step One – Awareness
  2. Step Two – Intentionality

Just like a book series, it is more interesting to know what happened in the first two volumes to provide you with context of the development of the final volume.   The third segment focuses on making it happen, which is the execution of the plan. I call this the triple A’s, representing Act, Assess and Adjust.   By applying the triple A’s, we are able to adapt to changes and revise our plan. This will enable us to continue our journey and monitor our progress.


Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


The key to this step is making the decision.   According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, the universe will conspires to make it happen once a decision is made.   The first step is always the hardest.  The challenge is: making the decision is only the initial step. What is really important is taking action. It is at that point that you are on your way to achieving your dream.

Once you’ve started your journey by taking the first step, it is important to be diligent and keep up with your progress. Celebrate good days in which you made progress and also acknowledge that there will be days that you’ll fall behind, but learn from your mistakes and get back in the saddle; move in the right direction.   As part of their program, the participants will receive 2 coaching sessions each month on a one-on-one basis.   The coaching session will allow me to help keep the participant on track and ask the tough questions.   In addition to that, peer circle call will be in place, whereby all participants of the training will jump in and call once a month to discuss their wins and challenges. The peer circle calls are crucial in establishing a sense of community.

According to Colin Powell, a dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.   You have to keep in mind that to succeed will require discipline and perseverance.     You need to be persistent, but as your coach, I will help you and guide you to achieve you dream. Remember that your success starts by you believing in yourself.   I believe in you. The question is, do you believe in yourself?   I certainly hope you value yourself to love yourself and want to succeed.

To close, I’m here for you.   I’ll use my knowledge and expertise to help you. However, you need to pull it together to make it happen.   Let me know what you think of my blog. If you like it, share it someone you know who will benefit from reading it.

Will’s AIM Program –Intentionality



Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. Lao Tzu

Intentionality means doing things with purpose and passion.   Being aware and conscious about your current state and facing that hard reality that changes need to be undertaken in order for you to attain your dream.   According to Lao Tzu, resisting reality will create sorrow that can only hold you back. Why choose that path when you have the option of turning things around?   In my opinion, it is never too late—never unless you’re dead, that is only the time it is final. Till that happens, you have the opportunity to seek the changes you want to better yourself.

This step starts with a personal assessment which focuses on identifying your strengths and weaknesses. The purpose of identifying your strengths is to come up with plans to continue to find ways to highlights your strengths.   The weaknesses identification is critical to your growth and development, because more often than not, some of your weaknesses are single handedly holding you back or pulling you down.

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Colin Powell

Facing the hard reality is not easy. Who wants to sit there to pinpoint what is holding them back? However, it is a crucial step in your growth and development to face the hard reality head on.   As Colin Powell says, a dream doesn’t become reality without hard work. The hard work here is to painstakingly list every weakness and be intentional about how it is holding you back. Without fully disclosing and articulating these, it is hard to find the way forward.

Once you’ve listed each of the weakness, prepare a plan on how to address that challenge. What can you do to address it? Do you need training? Do you need a mentor? Do you need a coach? What is that one thing that can help you turn the corner?   During this step be intentional and spend the right amount of time and create a plan. Do the same for your strengths and determine how you can continue to highlight it. What are the opportunities to showcase your strengths?

I often ask people this question, “Would you ever consider driving without a direction? How would you know if you arrive?”   If you won’t drive without a direction, why are you willing to drive your life without direction?   Don’t take chances with your career, plan, act, do, reassess and continue that cycle.

To close, on my next blog I’ll focus on making it happen.   Let me know what you think of my blog. If you like it, share it someone you know who will benefit from reading it.


Will’s AIM Program –Self Reflection



Photo courtesy of

I’ve been working on a program called AIM. It has been six months in the making. Over the next three blogs, I will be sharing a high-level overview of my program.

A – Stands for Aspire. Aspiration is the starting point of taking your dream and conceptualizing it.   By doing so, you’ll articulate and describe it like it is right in front of you.   You should paint the picture and vividly describe what it looks and feels like.

I – stands for intentionality.   Being intentional is key to your ability to achieve your goal.   Intentionality helps raise awareness and pushes you to do something about it.

M – Stands for making it happen.   It means creating the plan to detail how you will go about achieving your dream. It is the step to create the plan.   A plan that will guide you through the process, you’ll use it to track progress and adjust accordingly.

To aspire, you need to be able to describe your dream. There must this burning desire to want to make it happen. This must be something that motivates you to get up in the morning and get started with your day.

Once you define your dream, your next step is to practice self-reflection.     Here are the steps in self-reflection:

  • Step one is reflecting on all the things that transpired during the week.   During this step, take account of everything that happened during the week, both good and situations that did not go well.
  • Step two is to write down each of one the situations. Try to describe and elaborate the situation, including the wins and room for improvements.   This step forces you to commit all the things that happened to you to their physical state.
  • Step three is categorize and group them. This is relevant because it enables you to come up with solution or action items and address all possible issues.
  • Step four defines a way forward for each of the situations in which it did not go well. Highlight how you can improve upon the situation. What could you have done differently?
  • Step five is step back and try to see the situation in a third-party perspective.   By doing so, you’ll be forced to grow and develop, to be objective in evaluating your situation.

Practicing self-reflection is key to your ability to assess your situation.   This practice is key to your growth and development.   Without operating outside of our comfort zone, we will not be challenged to step up and address the things that are preventing us from achieving our dream.

To close, on my next blog, I’ll focus on intentionality.   Let me know what you think of my blog. If you like it, share it to someone you know who will benefit from reading it.

Failure is good for you


failure-when-your-best-isn-t-good-enoughAs we go through life, we often strive to achieve the next goal. This discipline started in pre-K.   We work our way to Kindergarten then grammar school onto high school.   That journey continues to college for some while others take a detour and enter the real world.   Many move on to college to pursue what they are passionate about.

All through this journey, success is within reach. There were some setbacks, mistakes, but for the most part we managed to move to the next stop then the next one after that. From a certain vantage point it looks like it was smooth sailing.

As we enter the real world, we no longer take any tests or quizzes.   We no longer pull an all-nighter to take a test. We work on projects and focus on delivering results or contributing to the bottom line of the company that we work for.   Measurement is very different at times, varies with the manager you report to.   It is not the number of hours that you work that matter; it is the results that you produce that count.

While in school we succeeded each year and moved on to the next level. Success comes easy in my opinion. Most students make it to the next level.   At some point we expect to move to the next level. Of course we need to work to make it, but for the most part most students make it to the next level. Success comes naturally but in the real world that is not the case.

The first time you faced failure was the hardest.   Why? Because it was out of the norm. You were so used to succeeding, but now either you failed to deliver or got a poor rating for the first time in your life.   Don’t be in despair.   Failure is good for you. What? What do you mean? How can failure be good for me? Yes, it is. With failure, you have the opportunity to assess what went wrong and what you can do to improve your situation.   Each failure is an opportunity to learn the lesson and improve upon yourself.

In my opinion, it is best to fail early and often early in your career. This way you learn the lessons and improve yourself.   After each failure, make sure to spend the time learning the lesson before you move on.   There is a tendency to rush because you want to leave the bad memory, but if you don’t learn your lesson, you’re bound to make the same mistake.   As Bill Gates says, “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”   By heeding the lessons of failure, you’ll be aware and avoid making the same mistakes.

To end this post, I’ll close it with a quote from Tony Robbins, “I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration was actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”     With failure comes learning; if you embrace the opportunity to learn, you will avoid the same mistake and achieve the growth that will enable you to be prepared for the next challenge ahead.

As Michael Jordan’s puts it, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” This quote reminds us that through adversity success is within reach. Let me know what you think.

Who is your client?


client-relationshipsIn Mirriam-Webster’s a client is defined as a person who engages the professional advice or services of another. Another definition of client is customer.   In my early twenties I often thought of the client as the end client. By that I mean, if a company is a bank, the clients are the people who do business with the bank.

In my thirties, as I spent more time in the workforce, I started to shift the concept of client to people I interacted with or served on a daily basis. What this meant was that in the various departments that I interacted with my business partners, operations partners, are my clients.

In my mid to late thirties as I embarked on my leadership journey, my concept of client was everyone that I interacted with, including those people who worked in my organization.   As a servant leader, you aim to add value to others. In order to achieve that you need to shift your focus from self to others.   It is a difficult process, because in the age of instant gratification, the focus is often on self.   However, in order to achieve the shift, you need to slowly transform yourself by improving your awareness.   This process is difficult, but the reward is great.

Each year after that, I made progress in shifting my focus.   I start my day by thinking how I can add value to people around me.  Realizing that everyone is my client, I need to ensure that I do my best in servicing them. However, does that mean that I will be stretched in 10 different directions? Of course the answer is “NO”.

Here are some of my suggestions on how to ensure you’re providing a good service:

Be accountable – be accountable for your actions. Make sure to take ownership of your process and ensure that you see things through, that it gets done.

Focus on relationship – be aware of people’s needs and how you can help them.   Be a partner and don’t push people around.   If you have the bandwidth to help, help one or offer to help.

Priorities is key – while the need to serve everyone is crucial, you need to understand the priorities. Not all requests are alike; some are more important than others.

Focus on the end result – putting a smile on people’s faces is ultimately what we want to achieve. Focus on doing your best to delight your customer. When we enable our immediate customers, they can in turn help their customers.

Differentiation is the key – the key to market movement is differentiation. How can you differentiate yourself from everyone else? Do you want to be known for better service, best price, etc.?

If you keep in mind that the people you interact with are your customers, chances are you’ll do your best to delight them.   Remember that if you help them, they in turn can help someone else.   Go ahead and delight your customer. Put a smile on their face.



entitlement-cartoonpicture courtesy of

In Merriam-Webster, entitlement is defined as the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something. Or, belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.   When I was growing up, my father told me that there is no work that is beneath me, that I should always be eager to take on any work and put in my best effort to get it done.

Over the last 24 years, I took on work that I didn’t like, but did the work with a smile and got it done.   I always put the team/firm’s best interest first and understood that sometimes someone needs to do the work that no one likes but gets the work done.   I look at it as taking one for the team.   I’m willing to wait my turn and let others take better assignments.   I took my father’s advice to heart and waited to earn my keep.

As I moved up the management ranks and the Gen Y entered the workforce, I observed that they have a sense of entitlement. They know what they want and aren’t shy in letting people know what they don’t want.   It creates a dilemma for people managing them because work that otherwise would be done will be left to more experienced folks to do because new employees have no interest of working their way up.   Is this the sign of the times? They grow up taking and when they enter the workforce, it is time to give. However, they are accustomed to taking and think that they should continue that behavior.   While some are still eager to work their way up, a good number of them just want to do things that they want.

Dr. Jean Twenge is the author of Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled and More Miserable Than Ever. Dr. Twenge of San Diego State University studied more than 16,400 students who took the Narcissistic Personality Inventory between 1982 and 2006. In 1982, only a third of the students scored above average on the test. Today that number is over 65%.     This trend is alarming because self-centeredness will affect our ability to keep a competitive advantage, because folks halfway around the world are willing to do the same work to earn their stripes and get paid much less to do it.   As a result, they gained the skills that could enable them to be more successful in the long run.


The age of technology advancement and the need to for instant gratification or what I call the “I want it NOW” mentality will prevent them from developing the skills they need to be well-rounded and better prepared for future opportunities.   In the past, everyone worked their way up.   With the new generation, where they want to pick and choose, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gain the foundational skills that are needed to enable them in the future.

When my daughter joined recreational sports a few years ago, I was surprised to see that everyone received a trophy at the end of the season.   If I remember correctly, they only won one game and lost eight.   In fact, my daughter was so upset each week as their opponent scored against them at will. 8-6, 4-2, etc. was the score of their opponents.   I told my daughter that what was important was the they were trying their best. However, receiving that trophy was not right as they really did not achieve anything.   It was hard for me to explain to my daughter; however, in the coming years she understood my point of view—akin to inflated grades to make children feel better, similar to mass promotion.

Gen Y’s need for affirmation and entitlement is spilling over to the work environment.   If this pattern continues, we will fall behind and other countries will take the lead in the marketplace.   We need to put entitlement into context and make sure they learn that they can be entitled to something only if they earn the credit by doing the work.   It is a stark reminder that they need to work their way up.     It’s leaders’ jobs to make sure that we educate the future leaders.   If we want to succeed, rebaselining of their understanding is an important step in heading the right direction.

I do understand that this topic is a bit controversial, but if I don’t talk about it and raise awareness, I’m not doing the right thing. The question to ask is: Do I want to face the alternative that we will lose our competitive advantage? My answer is an emphatic “NO”.   Let me know what you think.   I’ll end my post with this quote by Earl Nightingale, “We will receive not what we idly wish for but what we justly earn. Our rewards will always be in exact proportion to our service.


The Joy of Coaching


CoachingI had the privilege of coaching people to advance their career and attain certain fulfillment and the satisfaction, as well, of coaching my daughter’s 3rd and 4th and later 5th and 6th grades basketball team.   On both fronts, the satisfaction is in seeing people grow and develop while keeping their joy of learning.

The greatest reward as a coach is to be able to motivate your team to achieve goals they otherwise think they cannot achieve.   To give them the extra push in challenging times that enables them to overcome the obstacle.   Ultimately as a coach I learned something new throughout the journey about my players. That same is true for my executive coaching.   When your client overcomes an obstacle or becomes unstuck, that’s a win for you as well.

While anyone can say that they’re coaching, saying you’re a coach is not same as acting and conducting yourself like one.   Based on my experience, a great coach has the following characteristics:

They focus on YOU – the focus of the coach is you and your development.

“Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”John Wooden

Challenge you – they challenge you to overcome things you otherwise thought you couldn’t achieve.   In challenging times, they help you transition from having distractive thoughts to creating constructive thoughts that enable you to move forward.

Good communicator – communication is the key to a successful coach. They’re able to communicate in good times and challenging times as well. They always find ways to come up with the right choice of words to encourage their people.

Has a philosophy – They have a belief and principles.   In my case, I always emphasize learning fundamentals and the value of sportsmanship, team work and hard work.

Discipline – Discipline is the foundation of any successful undertaking. Without discipline you cannot be successful.   You need discipline to help you focus on the overall goal.

Understand their people – It is easy to push your team, but failure to understand your team will lead to frustration and result in eventual failure. A good coach takes the time to learn and understand their people.   They know when to push and hold back and nurture their team.

Aim to serve – Coaching is a service. To succeed, a coach must aim to serve their constituents and be there for them.   Their unselfish attitude will ensure that their constituents’ best interest is always front and center.

analazing market situationIn my experience, the biggest difference between sport coaching and executive coaching is in client confidentiality.     In executive coaching, you need to uphold client confidentiality. It is job one.   Both bring joy to the practitioner and often provide lifelong learning as their relationship progresses over time.

Coaching is a blessing – a blessing to touch people’s hearts and develop them and see them grow.   I’m thankful for the opportunity to make a difference.


“The test of a good coach is that when they leave, others will carry on successfully.”   Author Unknown

Live in the moment



I’ll start my blog with my quote, “Live in the moment. What’s here today is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow. Make the most of your opportunity and try to see the positive side of every situation.”

All my life, I have constantly worried about tomorrow. With the life challenges that I went through, I couldn’t see past today. Therefore I spent time worrying about what would I be doing tomorrow.   Deep inside I was embarrassed that my classmates would all be successful and I would be working in my family’s convenience store for the rest of my life.   Perhaps it was not that bad because that’s what I was told I was capable of.   But never a day went by that I didn’t hear people say that I wasn’t like my siblings.   Even my teachers wondered how I was related to my brother and sister, because they were really doing well academically and I was just average.

Back then I was eager to finish grade school so I could be in high school. Once I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to go to college. In my senior year in high school, I qualified for a scholarship for a computer programming class. The trend continued and I was in a rush to go to college. During my junior year in college, I realized that all I did was rush from one stage to another because I was trying to escape my present situation. As a result, I failed to enjoy my journey. I learned to slow down, but made little effort to enjoy the moment.   Before you know it, I was done. I took the board exam and then reality set in.

The day after I sat for the board exam marked the rest of my life working in our convenience store. It hit me like a brick wall: wow I rushed all for this moment.   Each day that went by I realized that it was not for me. I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t passionate about it. My love for computer programming was still there.   I fought the fear to talk to my mother about my desire to seek opportunity elsewhere.   It was not easy, but eventually I mustered the courage and talked to my mother.   In the end, I was allowed to seek employment elsewhere and I promised that I would work on weekends and holidays at our convenience store.

It took me a couple of months to find a job due to the competitive marketplace. The day I started my job, I vowed to take each moment and make the most of it.   By staying in the moment, I saw opportunities and made sure I worked hard to qualify for the opportunities.

My journey was meaningful because of the way I approached it. I also emphasized working hard while making sure when I made mistakes that I took the time to learn the lessons and avoid repeating the same mistake.

Living in the moment means…

Don’t worry about things you can’t change – there is really no point in worrying about things you can’t change, because you’re wasting your energy and stressing yourself out for no reason.

Don’t let the pain of the past rule your present – while you might experience a tough or challenging childhood, it does not mean that your future has to be the same.   Just like me, I take those experiences and try to provide a better experience for my children.   I stopped letting the past rule my future.

Learn to slowdown and enjoy the moment – Slow down and enjoy the moment. Make the most of your opportunities. Don’t rush. Let the lessons of today come to you.

Eliminate the filter that prevents your seeing the good in others – sometimes our bias prevents us from seeing the good in others. These filters are byproducts of our experience. Our awareness is the one that will set us free.   Step back and reassess the situation and make sure that you’re considering all other things before coming up with a conclusion.

Live-in-the-moment-funny-messagesI’ll close this post with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”   To make each day the best day in the year, we must be aware and conscious about it.   I hope reading this post helps you reflect on enjoying the present. May today be your best day ever.

Surrounding with the right people


Rallying the Troops - Organization ChartGrowing up, I remember the days in which I got to sneak out and play basketball with the children living in the same apartment building.   I say sneak because my parents didn’t want me to waste my time on unproductive things; my time was best spent helping at our convenience store.   While I liked helping my parents, I did enjoy the camaraderie and the friendly competition.

Back then a game of basketball started with the top two players picking their teammates.   What a great feeling to be picked first, but that’s not my luck as I’m not the best player and usually play a backup role.   There were times I was the last two picked and I dreaded being picked last.   I don’t remember being the last one standing, but I remember vividly that the team leader picked players he deemed could help his team win the game.   That is my early recollection of team formation.   As I grew up, I got to pick players and I often asked myself the question: Who is the best rebounder, excellent ball handler, great low-post player, etc.?

I’ve played on many team sports and for the most part the coaches do employ a certain rationale as to how they form their team.  Throughout my career, I’ve observed how my manager would hire certain people with certain skillsets to help us achieve our goal.

So, what’s my point for this post?   My point for this post is that, while this strategy of hiring people with different skillsets to help strengthen your team is important, it is equally important that you create your own inner circle that can collectively help everyone in your inner circle. By doing so, you can enable others and help them help you achieve your goal.    As you go through your career, keep an eye on people who specialize in things that you’re not really good at.   Connect with them and bring them along to your next opportunity to make things happen.   Remember that you don’t need to do it alone; collectively you can make things happen and take care of each other and help achieve the company’s goal.

Developing Talent Around Us - One at a time

I’ll leave you with a quote by Derek Jeter, “Surround yourself with good people. People who are going to be honest with you and look out for your best interests”

101th Blog – Unlearning to move forward


learn1Life is a journey in which progress is made as we learn something new and internalize that learning, and insight that’s learned becomes part of the foundation.   That foundation grows over time and becomes the cornerstone of my life that expands my overall capabilities.

Take for example my educational journey. From pre-K and elementary I moved on and subsequently reached high school. Later on I progressed to college.   During each phase I learned something that helped serve as a building block for the next step.   Just like a puzzle, I picked up the pieces along the way until I completed the initial puzzle, which formed my foundation.

As I entered the workforce, the same principles applied, absorbing all the things to learn and adding something new. Learning new programming language, process/methodology, business functions and models contributed to my success.   My goal back then was to learn something new and build on that to show my employer how I could add value to others.   This has contributed to my success.   What followed were events that I never thought or planned, but rather it happened as I continued to stick to my belief that continuous learning is key to my progress. As a result I worked in Singapore as a consultant and later on came to the U.S. in 1993.   I’ve had a fairly good career. Through those times, here is what I learned that help me:

  • Aim to learn something new every day – invest in yourself and focus on continuous learning.   Remember that you can only harvest if you plant the seeds for a better tomorrow.
  • Focus on the business – the business evolved slower than technology. In order to develop better solutions, you need to learn the business of how things work.   Have a laser-sharp focus on learning the business.
  • Add value to others – when you can offer help, lend a helping hand.   Seek to help others in need. Let your teammates know that you care.   By doing so, when you need their help, they will also be there for you.
  • Sometimes you need to unlearn something to learn new things – as you move up the management ranks, what you learned that made you successful at your prior level might not help you to be successful at your new level. Take for example as a junior developer, being a team player and focusing on heads down coding and developing quality product can help you be recognize and promoted, but once you’re promoted, you need to learn to manage others. Communication and dealing with conflicts will be essential to your success and at the same time you need to unlearn the habit of just heads-down coding and broaden your focus.
  • Offer and volunteer your time – to succeed you need to give back to the community.   To grow we need to learn to give back to the community that we belong to.   Help grow the community and enable others.
  • Changing your mindset – what you learned in the past pertains to fact at that point in time.   As time goes by, things evolve. Therefore, you need to adjust what you learn and adapt to the new things around the same concept. By doing so, you can maximize your experience and growth.
  • Challenge the status quo – You need to challenge the status quo and keep from doing the same thing over and over. Ask the right questions and make others think through the problems and make it happen.
  • Find a mentor – this is the most important one. Seek a mentor who can help you learn the lay of the land and teach you how to navigate the sea of challenges.   Make sure to let your mentor know how much you appreciate their help and make sure to put in the effort to apply what you learn from them.

The world around us has evolved. Existing things evolved into something better, or at time worse. By changing your mindset and unlearning the old things and replacing them with new thing we can then adapt to the new environment and be successful.   Remember that to achieve something, you cannot negotiate the sacrifice you need to undertake to achieve it.


#100th Blog – Motivating Employees (5WeekStreak)


happy-employeesKeeping your employees engaged is the key to a company’s success. In order to engage your employees you need to show them you care.   When your employees are happy with their jobs, your customers will share that experience through their interactions with your employees.   Remember that a delighted customer can be turned into a loyal customer through consistent service.   In addition, an employee that is engaged creates a loyal workforce that can help differentiate your company.

What is the key to engaging your employees? How do we best engage our employees?   What is the key to making that connection?   Here are some of the tips:

  1. Listen to your employees – it sounds simple but we often ignore the fact that in order for us to connect with our employees to we need to listen to their viewpoints.
  2. Improve communication – communicate, communicate, communicate…there is no such thing as over communication, but there is a downside of not communicating with them at all.
  3. Timely communication – when communicating, the timeliness of the message is crucial to the effectiveness of the message.
  4. Money is not always the answer – while money is a great way of recognizing your employees, it is best to realize that there are other means of recognizing them.   Recognition does not have to be expensive.   Saying thank you, buying gift cards, and awarding them with certificates are some the ways to show you care.
  5. Share their cause – you might have an employee who is passionate about a specific charity. In that case adopt that charity and help your employee raise funds for that cause.
  6. Invite your employee to participate in brainstorming sessions – in certain cases, involve your key employees and allow them to come up with ways to address a specific work problem that your business is dealing with. This is a way to recognize them.
  7. Be flexible with your employee – provide your employees the flexibility to choose to telecommute and allow them to manage their affairs. This is not for everyone, as obviously some will take advantage of this.   The key is trusted employees.
  8. Challenge your employees to come up with a new solution to an existing problem – allow them to apply creative thinking to help address a problem.   Allot a couple of hours each week for them to work on special projects that they are interested in.
  9. Be accessible – the worst form of leadership is one that thinks that they reached the top of the tower and everyone is beneath them.   Don’t stay in your office. Walk the hall and mingle with your people in their workspace.   Be there, not to police, but rather to get to know them.
  10. Ask questions – be aware that sometimes people will not tell you anything unless you ask questions.   Connect with them by asking questions that engage your employees.
  11. Last but not least, be authentic and don’t fake it, like you care when you don’t.   Because your employees will sense that you’re not sincere. Remember, trust is the foundation of your relationship.

customerWhile the above mentioned tips can help engage your employees, the key to engaging your employees is being a servant leader and being there for them.   When you’re there for them, they will be there for you too. Let me know your thoughts on my post.



Accessible Leader


analazing market situationEarlier in my career, I worked for firms in which the middle and senior management folks are in nice corner offices and not accessible for their constituents.   This created a sense of mystique that when you made it to that level you have your privacy.   In the years that I’ve worked there, I’ve seen the owner of the company a few times, but never had any interaction with him.   Back then I would not dare to set up an appointment, because I didn’t think that he would meet with me, not to mention I’d not seen any of my peers meeting with him.   When I wandered down the executive side of the building, the secretary often asked, “Why are you here?”

In my over 23 years of experience in the Information Technology field, I spent almost seven years in consulting. During that period, I had the same experience in which senior management folks were not accessible.   In fact, they did not acknowledge their constituents when they walked the hallway.   It led me to believe that is the way things are when you make it to the top. In my opinion, it looked lonely up there.

When I joined Prudential in 2000, my experience changed, as our Senior Vice President would walked the hall and talked to their constituents.   He would stop by to ask how you’re doing and talk to people.   He showed interest in his people and was accessible, a huge departure from my many years of experience.   Because of the dot net boom, I was located in the hallway. One day he stopped by and spoke to me. I was surprised by that experience and was not sure what to make of it.   Over the next few years I worked for him and blossomed in every role that he assigned me to work in.   It is indeed the best 7 years of my career.

What I learned was that leaders who are in tune with their constituents are able to motivate and mobilize their people.   It shows they care about their people; therefore their people are willing to go above and beyond.   We are challenged like any other firm that I worked for, but I felt a sense of allegiance and connection to our overall vision.   In many ways, I model my leadership style from him.   He is a mentor to many people in the organization and always in developing people around him.   He challenged everyone, but also provides you with the help and support to enable you to succeed.

Having experienced both types of leaders, I can say that it is better to be an accessible leader.   Your constituents need to see that you are there for them and support them no matter the situation.   I’ve made it a point to let my folks know that I have an open-door policy and that I’m there for them.   The reality is that I cannot address all their challenges or issues, but I can guarantee that I’ll be there to listen. I apply active listening to let them know I’m there for them.   Thank you to Bob, who made a difference in my career.   I would not be where I am without his influence. It is the very reason that I dedicate my career to help others as my way of paying it forward.

Do you believe that an accessible leader is better in leading an organization? Let me know your thoughts.

Customer Service :-)


customerWhen I think of customer service, the company that comes to mind is Amazon. I’ve been a customer of Amazon and they always meet my expectations.   As I write this post, I remember Jeff Bezos quote: “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” That is indeed true. The same is true when a customer is unhappy with your service; they tend to tell 10 more of their friends than when they are happy with your service. So bad service experience is shared 10 times faster than good experience.

The key to good customer service is company management. If the management takes good care of their people, their employees will be happy and their customers will ultimately benefit by having a more engaged and meaningful experience. Their employees will be committed in servicing their customers and attend to the customers’ needs.

On April 18, I visited a Japanese restaurant in Allendale. This restaurant was recommended to me by a co-worker of mine.   I was excited to tell my nephew who is a big fan of Japanese restaurants.   There were 7 of us as my sister-in-law was here for the Easter weekend.   As we entered the restaurant, we noticed that it was packed.   We decided that we would wait, because we want to see how good their food was.   The lady asked how many people were in our party. My wife said “7”.   She looked at the back of the restaurant and told my wife that they didn’t have a table for 7. My wife countered that they could separate us and the lady said, “No, because that’s too hard”. We all walked away disappointed with the way they interacted with us. Who in their right mind would turn away 7 paying customers?   Not to let her ruin our night, we decided to head to our favorite Japanese restaurant, Kumo, in Ridgewood.

Upon arrival at Kumo, we were greeted and ask how many in the party.   We waited for about 15 minutes as they prepared the table.   As always Kumo’s staff gave us a great experience, not to mention that the food is great. As my daughters said, it is our favorite restaurant.   The key difference between the two restaurants is that one tries to accommodate the customer while the other thinks about their own convenience before their customers.   Ultimately it left a bad experience with us and we will not be returning anytime soon.

It does not take a lot to keep your customers happy.   Listening and taking care of them are key. If you do put yourself in your customer’s position and think how you want to be served, you will always make the right decision.   Delighting your customer will go a long way.   It will also help promote your business through word of mouth.     As Jeffrey Gitomer said, “Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.”

customerserviceWe all have customers in our life. The people we interact with at work are our customers.   Our family or children are our customers.   It is essential that we learn the right way of engaging our customers, because it is essential to our success.   The next time you don’t feel like it and are having a bad day, just think of how you want to be treated and let that be the way you treat others.   Remember, those who master customer service will ultimately have a great career and achieve success, while the rest will continue to wonder what happened to them.   I’ll close this post with Stew Leonard (CEO) quote, “Rule 1: The customer is always right. Rule 2: If the customer is ever wrong, re-read Rule 1.”

Key to your success


DeliveryIn my many year in the Information Technology industry, I’ve met many types of people that managed to be successful in their career.   Each of those folks has his/her own journey to their desired position.   Some were on a fast track; others have a great or strong network, while others let their work speak for itself.

In my effort to understand their source of success, I observed and watched how they conducted themselves.   How did they interact with others? And, more importantly their relationship with others.

Here are my observations:

  • They connect with their people – they try to understand what their customers want and focus on delighting their customers
  • They have laser sharp focus – they keep their eye on the prize and aim to work toward achieving the goal by leading their team or guiding and/or inspiring them to getting the job done
  • They believe in continuous improvement – learning is a big part of what they do. They seek to learn something new and improve their overall capabilities
  • They invest in others – to increase their overall capacity they develop the people around them. They spend time to enable them to grow and develop
  • Ability to communicate their vision – painting the picture is one thing, but one’s ability to state the way to achieve that goal is priceless. It is also what differentiates successful from unsuccessful people
  • Find new ways of doing things – they try their best to find new ways of doing things. This helps their team learn and stretch outside of their comfort zone
  • They believe in their people – people are still our most important asset. If you don’t care about them, you cannot increase your team’s overall capabilities.   It reminds me of the CFO and the CEO discussion. It goes like this, CFO asks his CEO, “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave the company?” CEO answers, ‘What happens if we don’t, and they stay?” To raise the level of our capabilities, we need to develop people around us.
  • Finally, pretty much everyone has the BIG “D”.   The BIG “D” is delivery. Everyone has something that they deliver to help the company financially, productivity, time to market, cost savings or developing others.   Ultimately, people assess your value by your delivery.

To conclude this post, I remember what my father used to tell me when I was young. People will only remember you for the things you do for them.   They value your delivery and will continue to work with you and come back for more because you’re reliable and always get things done.   Let me know your thoughts on my post.

Someday is today



When I was a little, I often said, “I wish I were older”, “I wish I could do this and do that”, “ I wish I could be someone who could achieve a certain level of success” and my favorite, “I wish I would wake up tomorrow and things around me would change so I would be appreciated by people around me.”   I spent a lot time daydreaming and wishing things would happen.

So, what’s my point? My point is that sometimes we can’t take what is going on around us, but we just wish it would go away.   You wish it would change, but you’re not doing anything to change your situation.  We can’t keep on wishing; sometimes we need to do something to change our situation.

As I reminiscence on the past, I realized that what we do today will be the foundation of our future. In a way Someday is today; what you do today will help you achieve your goal. Just like doctors, they were not born doctors.   They were babies that grew up and went to school like everyone else. They were once a kindergarten student like everyone else. They graduated middle school, high school, went to college, and eventually the journey led them to medical school. In the end, with all their hard work they became doctors.   The same is true for many professions in life.

To achieve something we need to do something. To gain something we need to earn it.   As a basketball coach, I always tell my players that to get better as players we need to work on the fundamentals and practice.   Practice does not make perfect, but rather we improve.     In life, it is not worth striving for perfection. Our goal is to be better than we were a year ago.   Each year we should learn something new. The day we stop learning is the day we will decay and be left behind.

If you wish for a better tomorrow, you must do something to change your situation. In my junior year in high school, I made that decision that helped me to get to where I am today.   So, the next time you wish for something, I suggest you to do the following:

  • Write down your wish. By writing down your wish, it becomes a physical thing that you can see.
  • List the things you need to do to achieve your dream.
  • For each item, prepare an action plan
  • For each action plan, set a target date to accomplish it
  • Let your inner circle know of your plan. This will up the game as everyone knows about it.
  • Track your progress
  • Be consistent and commit to getting it done

Remember that someday is today, the actions or decisions you made today will help shape tomorrow. If you want to achieve something someday, you must act today.   Good luck!

Children Learning – Lego – Master Builder or Emmet


On February 8th, my family went and watched the Lego movie.  As we were watching the movie, I learned about the Master Builder and people who are like Emmet.   I pondered on what I just learned and I can’t help but draw a parallel as to how we learn when we’re growing up.    By that I mean, the education method that was used to help us be productive citizens someday.

I’ll start by describing Master Builders and how they are different from Emmet.  Master Builders are creative people who can create anything from any Lego parts.  They use their creativity to create new things without following instructions.   In a way, we can say that Master Builders hold no boundaries.  They can make anything that they imagine.   On the other hand, an Emmet lives life by following instructions.   They can create anything thing as long as it comes with an instruction.   They strive by being a great follower and can apply the precision needed to create things when an instruction is provided.   With instructions everything is possible.

As I look back at the educational system, I remembered that I had to memorize stuff after stuff with the purpose of either reciting it back or taking a test.    You’re given a grade based on your ability to repeat back what was asked of you to read and remember.   The challenge is: the retention of what you learn is rarely good if memorized.   The best lessons are those we experience and learn from.  Those are the ones that are committed to memory.   Later you’re asked to select a topic, but there are often strict guidelines.

While I appreciate the value the education system brings and the outcome it produces, I often ponder what else can be done to enhance the overall education experience.   Just like applying disruptive thought in technology to create new ideas or solutions,  I started to shift my mind set on how I want my children to learn going forward.    When my eldest was 2 years old, I decided that I would let her make certain decisions by giving her choices.   I continue to change that as she grows up with the intent of letting her expand her horizon and learn to make decisions based on the value and opportunity or possibilities.   Each year, I give her more opportunity to own the decision.     In the last year, she will select the courses that she likes with the gifted child program.   I often ask her why the course piques her interest and what she expects to learn from it.   The same decision-making opportunity was also extended to my little one, who is now 8 years old.    I often look at the little one as having to grow earlier as she gained a similar experience as the older one.

There was one scene on the Lego movie that caught my attention.  When Emmet fell into the hole and ended up in a place that he was not familiar with, he indicated that he did not know what to do, because there were no instructions available to guide him.    That scene reminds me of the education system that aims to practice memorization versus decision-based learning, which would be more impactful.    I believe the future will be better if the children of the next generation are given more creative opportunity to expand their horizon beyond traditional method of teaching.

I know that many people who will read this blog will not share my observation.

Do we want the leader of tomorrow to be a Master Builder Master Builder,

Emmet Emmet , or a combination?   Let me know your thoughts.   By looking at another angle of the equation, we can compare and contrast our experience.

Negativity – a dark cloud over your head


320px-Dark,_CloudsWhether it is a sunny or rainy day, there is always something to be said—that it is too hot or it’s gloomy.  There are people who will never appreciate the gift they have in front of them, but rather focus on the negative side of the equation.    They could be blessed with a promotion, but would turn around and complain that they have more work to do and the need to manage others.   They fail to see the benefit that their career is progressing in the right direction.

In the workplace, the negativity often rubs off on the people around them.  As they spread the bad news and rain on other people’s parade throughout the day, people around them start to feel down and upset about their situation.   It seems like it is a habit or a behavior that the person will never acknowledge.  They often say, “I’m just saying the truth.”  The truth or your truth is the question.   I’m of the belief that when we are paid to do a job, we do the best job we can and make sure we earn the money being paid to us.  We don’t want to short change anyone.  But the negative folks often think that they are adding value.    The negativity ends up being a productivity drain, because people are preoccupied with talking about something negative that has no direct relationship to what they do.   As a result they miss deadlines and the team can become dysfunctional.

What’s the best way to handle this situation?

  • Check your own environment – Is there something wrong with the culture or group dynamics?  What’s the source of negative energy?  By conducting an internal analysis, you’ll be able to uncover the source of the problem and address it.  Owning the problem is the first step in preventing the negative energy from impacting your team.  You’ll also gain the respect of your team.  If this is an environment problem, you need to see the elephant in the room and stop avoiding the issue.  It will keep coming up and interfere with your work.
  • Ignore the source of negative energy – If no one acknowledges the source and pays attention to their stories, the source will realize that they need to take their discussion elsewhere.
  • Face-to-face discussion – Dealing with the issue head on is by far the best way, because the source of the issue might not realize that he/she is causing a productivity drain.   During the discussion, make sure to provide specific situations and focus on the fact.  Avoid the “I think,” “I perceive” or “in my opinion” thing when dealing with the issue. Stay on point and cite specific instances and let the person explain the motivation behind such discussion.   If the person acknowledges the issue, come up with a development plan to address and monitor the issue.
  • Get rid of the source – With fast-paced businesses that demand more for the investments, we need to get rid of any unproductive resource, because if they don’t pull their weight, other people on the team have to step up to cover the gap.

Negativity is a huge energy and productivity drain in every organization.   Unless it is addressed, it will continue to erode the camaraderie of your team until it destroys it.  More importantly, negativity affects the people on your team.  Worse yet, it will spill over into their personal lives, which in my opinion is why it has to be addressed.

So the next time you observe that there is negativity hovering like a cloud at work, what will you do?  Please let me know your suggestion on how to address this.  It is through sharing that we can make this world a better place.

Attitude is everything – Donkey in a hole


Early this week a Facebook friend of mine shared a post of the donkey that fell into a well.   The farmer who owns the donkey thought that it was too old, so he decided to bury the donkey instead of finding a way to help it to get out of the hole.

As I read that post, I was reminded of the challenges that I went through growing up when people around me did not believe in me, that I could achieve anything in life.  When people close to me, constantly reminded me on a daily basis of my lack of intellectual capabilities, and because of that I thought I would not amount to anything.   When you hear that daily, it is like being brainwashed. You started believing that it is true and other people’s perception become your reality.   Perhaps it is true; I ponder that.   The reality is that I really was not smart compared to my siblings.   In addition, I did not achieve the same academic success year in and year out.  In fact, I never achieved anything academically until later in my high school education.

Back then, I almost gave up.   I felt that there was no point of trying when people put you in a box and no one gives you a chance.   But then, like the donkey when its owner started shoveling soil down that hole, I started to lose hope.   I still remember that feeling of emptiness and feeling sorry for myself.  Self pity kicked in and I rolled down this slippery hole of negative thoughts.

Not until someone showed interest in my ability and encouraged me to try did I have hope.  But the reality is, not until I changed my attitude did things change around me.    That day, I decided to prove to everyone who doubted me that I could get it done, that I had the courage to grind and push and dig deep to try my best.  Yes, the reality is I was not given the intellectual ability, but I’m blessed to be here on earth and there is a great reason and role for my existence.   Maybe I will succeed, maybe I won’t, but unless I try I will never know.

The first step of believing in myself was the hardest.   I had to convince myself that I would ignore the voice and what people said around me.   It is hard, but each day that I push and dig deep, it becomes easier and easier to move on.  I focus on small wins or success and build upon that.  Just like the donkey I shake the things that people around me are saying and I step up on the soil that was dumped on me.   Yes, it takes a long time, but is your current situation any better?  Don’t you think you deserve better?   Ponder on that. We all deserve better as long as we want to put in the work to get there.

We must develop the discipline to work on what we desire to achieve.   Focus on the end goal and persist.   Remember that defeat is only final when you give up and accept it.   Persistence is the key; we start by believing in ourselves.    Work on it and develop a bulldog persistence and work on it daily.   Develop a never-give-up attitude.

Looking back in my life, yes I came a long way.  Many times I would meet people from my past that say they are amazed at what I accomplished.   It all changed because I chose to do something about it.  I was diligent in working toward achieving goals one day at a time without ceasing.

I am a long way from achieving my goal and continue to work on it on a daily basis.   It helps to keep that in mind. As you achieve a certain level of success, give back to your community and mentor others, spread your knowledge and develop a community of folks that believe in empowering others.

2013 Year in Review


Year In Review

Change is the big word for 2013.   It is about the only thing that was constant throughout the year.   As I reflect on what transpired during the year, I break it down in three areas:  Work, Personal and Personal interest.

At work, 2013 was a year of changes that challenged my ability to cope and keep abreast of the changes.   From team composition changes to new partnership ventures to changes in technology then moving on to another technology when the prior adoption has not been completed.   On the flip side, I welcome the opportunity to be a part of Human Capital Group committee, which aimed to deal with tough issues like employee engagement and improving communications between management and its constituents.   I learned a lot by staying put and dealing with the challenges.  It stretched and helped me grow and develop.   The growth and development came with a huge price in terms of stress, but I was able to lead by example and be there for my team.  I ensure that I recognize them and let senior management know their accomplishments.   I continue to mentor my mentees and led the Stevens campus recruiting as Team Captain for UBS.  This is the third year in a row in which we hired at least 9 GTPs from said school.  I take pride in the work and process we put in place to enable us to recruit the best talent to join our firm.

From a personal perspective, I cherish the memories created of the great run we had as St. Elizabeth 4th Grade basketball team and eventually winning the championship.     I had the opportunity to bond with my daughter and work with a great group of players.   I instilled principles of teamwork, sportsmanship and respecting others.  At the same time, I taught them never to give up.   We had numerous come-from-behind wins by staying in the moment and chipping at the lead that our opponents had.     During the golf season, Faith participated in US Kids Golf.  She participated in three tournaments and I caddied for her.  Each tournament she improved and showed patience and poise in handling pressure.  I truly enjoy being out there with her.    Maddy’s soccer season was also great to watch the team finished in the middle of pack.   Maddy had her great moments, especially her winning goal at the Columbus Day weekend tournament.  In November, Faith made the TGA B team and played three other clubs to win first place overall.    Take a step back for a moment, winner of a basketball championship and then a golf team champion, that is an awesome year that will be hard to replicate.    In March, both Maddy and Faith received their piano excellence trophies.   Maddy had three years of superior rating, while Faith had six years of superior rating, her second trophy.   Faith also had her trophy for her duet.   Outside of sports and other activities, we spent a lot of time together playing card games, goofing and horsing around and getting to know one another.  It has been an awesome year in this area.

With regards to my pursuit of my personal interest, I found my passion for teaching leadership to others.   Since joining the John Maxwell Team to secure my certification, I led three mastermind groups and I enjoyed each of them.  The highlight of the year was attending the John Maxwell Live event.  Being taught by John Maxwell, Nick Vujicic and Les Brown is the most amazing experience.   Learning from the best and being in the same room, you can feel the energy and their passion.   I also met some great people that I belong to as an international accountability partner.    I made some great progress and then I fell off the horse as work took up more of my time.    In 2014, I commit to get back in the saddle and pursue my dream of being part of the John Maxwell Team by focusing on learning the lessons that will enable me to be effective as an instructor.

In spite of all the challenges and adversity, I learned a lot about myself and my ability to cope and handle stress.   I believe that Will of 2013 is better than Will of 2012. With that said, I’m really glad with my progress.    But more importantly I’m proud of playing an active role in my daughters’ lives, which in my mind is the most important thing in life.   In life, we only pass through this road once. I’m making sure I do my best and be in the moment and make it happen.    I look forward to 2014 with much enthusiasm and excitement that it will be better than 2013.

Gamification of Performance Measurement


CheckedTwo weeks ago when I came home from work, my daughter Maddy declared to me that she now has five stickers for reading five books to date.   She proceeded to explain that they are required to read 50 books for the school year.   I praised her for progress made and encourage her to keep up the good work.

Coincidentally this is the time of the year when we review objectives and evaluate ourselves for the work we did for the year.    Each year, we’re faced with the same challenge on how to better evaluate ourselves and our people consistently.    This is not an easy task.    Sometimes I’ve done a great job being objective with my evaluation then all of a sudden you see other managers being too lenient on their evaluation and your folks end up at the short end the stick.   This challenge of lack of consistency exists in every industry and is experienced by many firms.

So that night, as I proceeded with my nightly learning session, I pondered on my discussion with Maddy.    Back in the early days in school, I remember that our teachers would reward us with stickers or stars for things that we accomplished that, coupled with our test scores, were used to calculate our grades for each of the grading periods and eventually our final grades.    That form of performance and reward system was more accurate, because you clearly get what you put in.   However it is hard to implement that in the real world when there is no consistency in the work that everyone does.

The lack of consistency as to what everyone works on in the workplace did not stop me from stretching the limits of my imagination.  Drawing a parallel between video games and work performance measurement, I suggest gamifying performance measurement.  Here is the guideline:

  • For each project worked on that is completed successful, meaning on time and on budget, you’ll get a badge One.                    .
  • If your project missed its deadline, you’ll in turn get this badge Negative .
  • If you performed a role that helped the team get out of tough situation, you’ll get ½ of the badge as additional recognition on top of your accomplishment on the project.
  • After collecting 10 badges , it will be converted to an 1X badge 1X .
  • If you work on a project that is above and beyond your responsibility, like representing the firm in recruiting or facilitating change in the organization, you’ll earn an extra badge One .
  • The the badge is applicable to all levels in the organization from non-officers to senior managements.
  • At the end of the year, you’ll tally the number of 1X1X  + One  –  Negative = your rating.  You’ll then be ranked amongst your peers for your level.

The advantage of this system is that people will know where they stand throughout the year.   A slight differentiation needs to be applied to folks who are in support positions versus new development.  However, the measurement is the same.    Just like a game, there is a way to show the badges earned and let other people know where they stand throughout the year.

Sometimes when we simplify the challenge, we see an alternate solution amidst chaos.  Would this work?  I believe there is a chance it will.   It will also help improve transparency and promote a spirit of cooperation amongst everyone on the team, because the success of the team is measured against the funding provided for the project.

Let me know what you think.  I’ll be interested to know your thoughts on my suggested approach.