Seeing good in others

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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

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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

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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

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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.