Marginalize through specialization

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Rocks

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because companies pay top dollar for specialized skills, but over specialization without a plan can caused you to be out of date in a few years.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!

 

 

Developing Confidence

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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.

What would you do? Unsportsmanlike conduct

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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.

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.

 

Do Not Do List

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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.

Big Rocks!

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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

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AIM

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.