Be Nice

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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.

 

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.

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

Unplug on vacation

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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.

 

Dealing with rejection

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

pinky promisedMy so-called baby in the house will turn 8 in August.  This little spark plug is the life of our house.  She makes all the sounds that filled our house and energize the house day in and day out.

Last year she tried out for the town travelling team and made it to the U8 soccer team.  She was excited about the opportunity.  By all accounts she enjoyed the first half of the season playing left forward and even scored the winning goal for their first win of the season.  The win was a come-from-behind win.  I was so proud of the team because they fell behind quickly, down 0-2, and came from behind to win 3-2.

During the second half of the season, the coach decided to shuffle things up.  She started playing defense, but did not know what to do.  There were numerous games she came home lamenting that she did not know what to do.   I do understand and support the coach’s decision to play her on defense, because I believe that will allow her to be well rounded.   But without the proper instructions, it will really frustrate the child as they cannot cope with the situation.

As the season was about to end, all the players needed to try out for the next season.   Due to her piano recital she was able to attend one of the two tryout sessions.   But she was confident that she made the B team as there won’t be an A team this coming season.  She told me that she would definitely be in one of the two B teams.  As a parent, we saw her play and believed that she would make the B team.

When the tryout results came out, she was assigned to the C team, which was the developmental team.  That night I could not sleep as I had to figure out the best way to break the news to her.   I’ve done performance review discussions many times delivering bad news, but for some reason this was tougher.  When I broke the news to her, she cried her heart out.  She asked why she was on the C team.  I told her that sometimes in life we don’t get what we want.   I made her promise not to quit and get back in the saddle and get the job done.  A pinky promise made between a daddy and Maddy to encourage her to continue this journey.  I told her that she needs prove to those who doubt her that she is capable of making the upper level team.

As I talked to her, I focused on the following:

1)   Success – described her goal that won the 1st game of the season.  I want her to know that she is capable of getting the job done.

2)   You don’t get what you want at times – it is important that she learn the lesson that sometimes we don’t get what we want.  We can say life is not fair, but it does not mean that we should give up.

3)   Continue to work hard – the approach to life is 100% or nothing.   Either you put everything on the line or you don’t do it.  There is no shortcut and slowdown. If you want something, you need to put in the time effort and commitment to get the job done.

4)   Being honest with her – telling her the true situation versus sugar coating it.  I told her that the C team is a developmental team.  It is best that she knows that now, because she would notice that when the season started.   There was no point hiding the truth from her.  However, it is important to encourage her to take this as an opportunity to demonstrate her capabilities.

5)   Give her the time to deal with it – provide a supportive environment and give her the time to deal with the situation, but talk to her and let her tell you what’s on her mind.  It might take days, months to get through it, but we’re committed to be there for her.

It will be a long summer before the soccer season starts.   She has a year to prove her capability.  We talked about making a commitment and making the most of the opportunity.  I’m sure this lesson will make her stronger and will serve her well.   The future will be bright.   Torpedoes Black team, here comes Maddy!

Finding Happiness

Will Lukang, CSM, PMP, CLDC

Finding HappinessIn Merriam Webster happiness is defined as a state of wellbeing and contentment, or a pleasurable or satisfying experience.     When I think of happiness, this quote comes to mind,

Happiness is always a by-product.  It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular.  But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness. 

~Robertson Davies

 

When I think of happiness, it is relative to a person’s circumstances, time and state of mind.   It also varies from one person to another.   Some people find happiness through material things. Other finds happiness through helping others.  When I was growing up, I was happy when I spent time at my parents’ convenience store, because I got to interact with the folks who buy stuff from us and the workers at the market.  I also found happiness drawing and creating posters for use at school because it was a means for self-expression.

As you go through life, what makes you happy changes; it is indeed relative to a point in time or phase of your life.  I find that sometimes we kind of live our life backwards.  We work to earn more money and accumulate stuff to make us happy.  However, it is better to find your true calling and then express your passion to achieve your goal.   As I ponder this topic, I can’t help but think of what matters to us the most.   I viewed that health is important and being healthy should make us happy because it enables us to do what we want.

I view a happy person as someone who can enjoy a journey with unexpected stops, but enjoy the scenery as he/she passes through.   I’m often reminded that I need to put my expectations in perspective.  The last time I served at St. Martin’s soup kitchen it reminded me that other people are facing problems; that a gift of a meal brings joy to them.   It is a humbling experience that made me come back to keep me grounded.

As I reflect on this topic, I can’t help but think that there are people who find tremendous happiness in making others happy in spite of the grief that they themselves are going through.   They put others’ welfare ahead of theirs.  Mother Teresa is an inspiration for what she did.  She dedicated her life to help the poor people.  She founded the Missionaries of Charity with the objective of providing free service to the poorest of the poor.

These days, I’m happy when I spend time with my two daughters and wife.   I’m thankful for the opportunity to be part of their activities and lying down and sharing stories with my daughters.   I believe in doing random acts of kindness.   A simple thank you goes a long way to putting a smile on people’s faces.   Each day I count my blessings and avoid falling in the trap of complaining.   Because I always remind myself that other people are going through tougher challenges than I am.

I’d like to close this post with this:

The happy have whole days,
and those they choose.
The unhappy have but hours,
and those they lose.
~Colley Cibber

May you find happiness in the little things in life like taking a walk in the park.  May you seize the moment and make the most of your opportunity.  As my friend Judy says, “She believes that truly happy people are the ones who are thankful for what they have.”

Teachers – a Sandy Hook perspective

Will Lukang, CLDC, CSM, PMP

SandyHook1mile

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.