Thursday, January 19, 2006

      A New Chapter

It's been a while seems I wrote. I was busy with family issues, and preparing for the PMP exam in the last 2 weeks. Finally, I achieved PMP (Project Management Professional) today. That's one of my New Year Resolution achieved. Not too bad for a good start to the new year.

Tomorrow my sabbatical will come to an end, and I will be starting a new job at ModusLink. Looking back, I am grateful for my decision to take this period away from work; despite the lost of income, the knowledge and insights I have gained far outweigh what money can buy. The time away from the daily hassles has also allowed me to lucidly see my past successes and failures,, and understand my strengths and weaknesses.

I have learnt the value of reading widely and frequently. Reading expands horizons and allows me to see previous blind spots. It was like what Chris had said, "overcoming the peak of the mountain and seeing a fantastic view beyond ". However, only when we had surmount the peak, do we understand how blind we were before; and how much we were circling around, making the same mistakes. It seems that we were so stupid.

Through reading and reflecting, I realise I'd made many mistakes in my previous job. I held many negative perspectives, and failed to see them. Perspectives drives thoughts and emotions, which in turn drives our actions. My negativity made me a very unhappy person.

My concern now, as I start this new chapter, is to make sure that I do not fall back into the trap that I was in. As the demands of the job and the hectic pace kicks in, I must continually review my perspectives and remember lessons learnt during this sabbatical; use them to guide me on this new journey. Hopefully, I can maintain the composure and the empathy that I have gained.

I hope to still make time to read. There are still so much more that I have yet to learn. Hopefully, the learning continues...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

      Setting New Year Resolutions

As I have mentioned in my earlier post, the New Year period is a good time to review the past year, take stock of what was done/not done, and to set the goals for the new year ahead. Why is this important? In living true to the 2nd Habit, 'Begin with the End in Mind', I believe that having a desired end-state gives one a sense of direction and sets the effort for the year ahead. Without this, its like sailing out in the open sea without a compass; you go where the current brings you, which may not be where you want to go. Likewise, pure hard work without a set of SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Timed) goals is like sawing a tree with a jack-knife; you break a lot of sweat, but the tree don't fall. You only end up with lots of frustrations.

In counter-perspective, many I spoke to have set resolutions and failed to achieve them. To the extend that the notion of setting resolutions is pure nonsense and a waste of time. To these people, I can only offer my sympathy. You see, as in project management, setting SMART goals is only the first step of achieving anything worthwhile. The goals will not manifest themselves simply because an effort was taken to visualise it. The remaining part of the battle lies in consistent and committed effort to execute the plans necessary to see to its achievements.

When one fails to see the essence of what I am preaching here, I am quite certain one will fail to achieve greatness in his/her life.

In this blog article by Don Blohowiak, he recommends 7 steps to make resolutions a reality. These are good guidelines to start with. In addition, I have found this tool, PlanPlus from FranklinCovey, which helps in setting long and short term goals that are aligned to ones' values and roles in their life. It integrates with MS Outlook's tasks list and appointment feature to ensure consistent reminder and review. I find that if you reminded of your goals everyday via Outlook (which most do to check their emails), chances are you are better focused to tackle everyday issues to realise your desired end-states. I am using this tool myself. Highly recommended.