Year In Review – Explore …Dream…Discover

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I’m starting my post by reflecting on Mark Twain quotes, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover.”     Just like most folks, at times I do feel the comfort of the current state and am hesitant to test the water.   Why risk it?  Why make a move and end up at the bottom of the pool?  Why change things at work?  Too many questions, but I don’t have any answers, as I have not put much thought into it.

To summarize my year, it has been a great year for me because of the following reasons:

  • Participated in the St. Elizabeth Men’s Cornerstone program – for years, I hesitated attending this retreat, but in the end I’m glad I did because I have a profound sense of appreciation for what I have and gained 18 good friends along the way.
  • Promotion at work – after years of waiting for my turn, I never waver and continue to work hard. I evolved by learning new skills and doing my very best at all times.  I never give up and believe in chasing my dream and making it happen.  It helps that I stayed positive during the numerous years of not getting my promotions.  All throughout this journey, I continued to put my people ahead of my personal agenda and make sure that I show my appreciation for their commitment and contributions.   It is my belief that people are the most important assets.
  • Participated as an assistant coach for my daughter’s recreational soccer team – soccer is not my best sport, but I figured that I’m a quick learner.  I enjoyed being there for my daughter and helping out the coach.  I truly enjoyed this experience and bonded with my daughter.
  • Caddied for my daughter’s golf lesson and tournaments – I value the time I spent with my daughter and the test of my patience.   We’ve spent a lot of hours playing together that made me look forward to next season with much enthusiasm.    The highlight was when she played at the Twin Willow shootout and placed second.  I’m so proud of her.  I’ll forever remember this experience.
  • The-Character-Based-LeaderBook launch of the Lead Change Book project on Character-Based Leader – writing a book has been on my checklist for many years.  I’m honored to work with 20 other authors that I never met until the book was launched.  This is pure collaboration using social media to its full extent.  We met through Twitter and collaborated until we completed this book.   The icing on the cake was when I met Tara at the Danbury book signing.   What an experience!  A true test of pushing the limit and working outside of my comfort zone.
  • Presenting the Recipe to the 2012 Year Up at UBS – I prepared this material in the middle of the year and was excited to share it with folks who are starting their careers and learning the ropes.  The goal of the presentation was to impart knowledge on what it takes to be successful.
  • Hosted a picnic for my group – I believe that, as a leader of my group, I’m serving my people first and making sure that I show them my appreciation for their hard work and commitment.   I took over a new group in June and was given the challenging tasks of building out a new platform while continuing to roll out the existing application. By helping the team to focus on our goals, we were able to complete our initial deliverables and then build out the new platform.  It is an amazing accomplishment considering we were behind the eight ball by 5 months.  The picnic was the highlight that people on my team still talk about to this date.
  • Learning a lot about myself – Hurricane Sandy tested my ability to help the firm recover its critical infrastructure.  I worked through adversity and led the team through our recovery and restoration efforts.    With 9 days of no electricity and working through almost 30 hours and, all in all, two weeks of continued work,  I learned that I’m capable to lead in tough situations when called upon.
  • Coaching my daughter’s basketball team – being an assistant coach is one thing, but coaching is taking the challenge to the next level.    I look at this opportunity to teach the girls leadership and teamwork.  At the same time, I’m there for my daughter and making the most of my opportunity to be part of her activities.   Like anything that I get myself involved in, I do it 100% as I spend time planning, reviewing and organizing sessions.  So far we have a great season and the girls are having fun learning how to play basketball.
  • Celebrated three years of blogging – this is an important milestone in my aspiration to spread the word and share my knowledge and experiences.   This is one of the most important missions I have—to help raise awareness on issues or challenges that people are encountering.

By all standards, this is one of the best years I ever had.   As I look back to the year that went by so fast, I feel blessed that I created a plan and tracked my progress throughout the year.   The lesson that I want to impart to everyone is that you need to create a plan.  Because without a plan, you’ll be working on other people’s plans.   Without a plan, it is like walking blindfolded as you go down the stairs.  Please start your year by creating a plan, then track your progress.   I urge you to dream, explore and discover new things and challenge yourself.

As I look forward to next year, I challenge myself to think about Mark Twain’s quote as I start updating my plan.   I want to make sure I challenge myself and avoid playing the what-if scenario.   In the next two weeks, I’ll be reviewing my plan and plotting my next steps.   Mark Twain’s quote will be a constant reminder not to play it safe.    As your take away, I hope you’ll prepare your plan and track your progress throughout the year.    I encourage you to share your story and let me know how I can be of help.  Best wishes to you on the coming year.

Teachers – a Sandy Hook perspective

Will Lukang, CLDC, CSM, PMP

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Teachers are known to be the people that help shape the future of our country, because they are the ones that teach the leaders of tomorrow.   Through their guidance, support and nurturing, the next generation’s minds are shaped and educated about the things that make them a better people in the society.  Of course parents play an important part in the upbringing of the children, but for seven hours a day during the school year, the teachers help the children learn the things that they need to get to the next grade.

Through the years, I often heard people say that it is great to be a teacher because they only work till 3 p.m. and they have summer off.   Comments as such in my mind are made because people are envious of the people who enter such a profession.    Sometimes people think that just because school closes at 3 p.m. the teachers get to leave at 3 p.m.   More often than not they have to stay behind to clean up and they are often up early to prepare the agenda for the day.

From my experience, there is a teacher in my life that helped turn my life around.  Her name is Araceli Ilao.  She was my 3rd year high school teacher.   I used to lack confidence and believed that I wasn’t smart or capable of accomplishing anything.  I felt that way because the people around me kept telling me that I wasn’t as smart as my siblings and didn’t amount to anything.   She told me that I’m the only one who knows my capabilities.   If I trust and believe in myself, I can accomplish a lot of things.

Each day under her guidance, I gained confidence and before I knew it I placed third in my section. I couldn’t even imagine getting a great score much less to aspire to be an honor student.   But for some reason I started to believe in myself and studied hard and aimed high.   As the year progressed, I was impressed with what I’d done, because the excellent score helped me work harder for the next one.   By the end of the year, I placed third in my section.   As I look back to that year, it was the best year of my young life.   I wrote names of people I wanted to prove wrong and each year I would work toward proving them wrong.   I turned a negative into a positive.  Negative in which people don’t believe me and positive by channeling the negative energy to working hard and focusing on my goal of proving them wrong.   Mrs. Ilao helped me become the person that I am.  Teachers like her make a profound impact on people’s lives long after she is done teaching them.

In light of the Sandy Hook Elementary incident, I’ve more respect for teachers and the profession.  The sacrifice they put in on a daily basis to teach, nurture and mold the children who will be leaders of tomorrow.   The fact that they have put their lives on the line to save the lives of their students, such  heroism is above beyond what we ask for.   Take for example, Victoria Soto who hid all her students and told the gunman that they were on the playground.   She sacrificed herself for the love of her students.  Such act of courage is beyond compare.    As I end this post, my family continues to pray for all families who lost love ones and for the family of the gunman for the pain and suffering that they are going through.  May this incident help change the way we manage how people secure guns.   May the act of courage of the teachers served as a reminder that we need to hold all teachers in high regard and pray for their safety on a daily basis.

Seize the Day

By Will Lukang, CLDC, PMP, CSM, MASCL

Family

As I drive home tonight after a long day at work, I can’t help but think about the things that transpired at work and all the things that are left to be taken care of tomorrow.   In addition, numerous releases that need to happen in the weeks to come.   I find myself trying to figure out any possible issues and gaps that we could possibly miss.

As I get closer to my house, I can’t wait to see my family and hear the stories on how their day has gone.   It dawns on me that I need to unplug myself from work and focus on the task at hand, which is to be there for my family.   I’m often reminded that I only have one (1) chance to make an impression, connect and bond.  If I miss this opportunity, I will never be able to take back the time.  There is no rewind and replay in life; it is a one way ticket and there is no looking back.   In some respects, there is no point to regretting you missed the opportunity, but rather you need to try your best to make up, or re-establish the connection.

I wrote this blog because I want to help others to realize that this opportunity is for them to seize or let go.   From my perspective, here is what I’ve been working on:

  • Listen to your children – pay attention and ask questions to let them know that you’re there for them and what they say is important.
  • Let them know that they matter – by showing you love them in words and action.  Not by giving them a false sense of love through monetary means.
  • Lead by example – we need to walk the talk (do what you say you would do) and be a role model for them.  They need someone to help them learn right from wrong and understand the importance of integrity and community.  This includes being true to your words.  Sometimes it is difficult, but making an effort can make it happen.
  • Teach them that life is not fair – Don’t shelter them, and let them learn that they cannot have everything they want.  Sometimes you can’t have what you want, because you don’t have the means to afford it.
  • Outcome often depends on your effort – If you work hard you can be successful, although it is not guaranteed.  But you’ll get what you invest in and reward can only be expected if you put in the effort into getting it done.
  • Allowing them freedom – in choice by making some decisions that you believe they are able to make, and let them try or explore things in life within your guidance.   Try new sports or school activities to learn more about themselves.
  • Teach them to love mankind – by caring for others and people who are in need.  Have compassion for others and try their best to help the best they can.
  • Believe in them – give them the confidence by believing in them and helping them grow and develop to be people who use their values and morals to lead their lives.

In the end, my belief is that you’ll get what you put in.   On most days, it is hard to juggle multiple balls everyday but when I get home I’m trying to disconnect and unplug to listen to my little one read me a poem or a book or talking about that happen during the days and ask questions that elicit interaction.    Carpe Diem is what it is all about.   I hope you’re take away from reading my post is to spend more time with your family or love ones.  Let them know you care about them.   Feel free to share your thoughts.

An inspiration – an act of kindness

Will Lukang, CLDC, PMP, CSM, MASCL

Caring

Do you have someone in your life that you look up to?  Someone you like to emulate and who inspires you to pursue things you otherwise would think you’re not capable of achieving.  This person could be your role model or just someone who has touched a lot of people’s lives.

I’m fortunate to have this experience.    The person I’m referring to is my cousin Dr. Domingo Lu Chiu, Jr.   I still remember like it was yesterday that when we used to visit my uncle and aunt,  I would run upstairs to his bedroom to talk to him.   Back then he was in college studying pre-med while I was in elementary school.   I would ask him questions about what he was studying or doing.  He was very diligent and dedicated to becoming a doctor.    When he graduated, I remember that he would often help people who were in need or unable to pay to see a doctor.

As I moved on from high school through college, our family had a falling out and we saw each other far less in between.   But I still remember those times in which I interacted with him.    His passion for helping others and compassion for others are what I remember the most.

As I move up the management ranks, I’m often reminded that I need to take interest in others and take the time to coach and mentor others.  Developing talent became important to me and to this day I still ensure that, while I help the company achieve its goal, I make sure that the folks on my team learn new things, grow and develop.    As I look back, I’m thankful for the opportunity to have spent time with my cousin when I was growing up.   He definitely impressed upon me that helping others is a cornerstone for how we can make this place a better place.

Earlier this year, he was struck by a car while he stopped and crossed the street to pick up a cat (still alive) that was run over by a car.   In my mind, most people would not pick up a cat that was run over by a car, but because he was compassionate and cared a lot about any living creature, he stopped and did what he felt was the right thing to do.   As a result, he lost his life doing it.   I’m saddened by the news and still reminded of his passion for helping others.   He will forever be missed and I will remember his act of kindness for the rest of my life.    His act of kindness served as reminder for me to help others grow and develop.    In many respects, what I do has no comparison to what my cousin did, but he made an impact in my life by instilling the concept of human compassion and leading by example.   He will be missed, but will never be forgotten.