Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


Attempting Something New

Was there ever a time when you think you are unable to do something and yet did? It can be truly amazing, isn’t it?

Just three weeks ago, a new project landed on my feet. It was too good a chance to miss and it was another exciting journey in my professional life. The content of the subject was not difficult and something I have enjoyed over the years, reading, researching and doing, always trying to better my skills. However, this time round, part of the project required me to draw. Draw?

Yes, I have drawn … more like doodles and noodles. But draw something recognisably good enough for a class? Mmm, I had to think about it. But passing up the chance of working with a wonderful team and mentor became too great to miss. I decided to press on. Did quite a bit of research on how to draw from the internet and books. Then I set out to practise and practise and practise. More practise. My pencils got shorter and eraser got smaller.

By the time I hit the 50th sketch, I was almost a quarter way there. Then I needed to add in colours. The next step set in. Things were coming to shape. I sent my amateur work for critique. “Cute” was the polite first reply. My second attempt came back with, “Improved”. Diligently, I continued.

By now, I have decided to go for a formal class to raise my competency level with better understanding of techniques. Actually I have always wanted to attend such a class. What better time than now? Looking back, attempting something new is not so daunting after all. What seems ridiculous initially start to take shape when heart and mind are in one place, the possibilities are endless. I am glad I did. It is another “talent” to nurture and keep it as a hobby.

So what’s new that you would like to attempt and yet stop in your tracks? What’s stopping you? If it enriches your life, will you have a go? Soon?


Which Wolf Will You Feed?

This morning, the first Saturday in 2014, the sun was shining in a clear blue sky. It evoked a feeling of new opportunities with renewed strength, a new beginning. Saturdays are one of my favourite days and today I thought I would sit and finish writing my plans for this year having time to mull over them in the last couple of weeks.

Going through the files in my laptop, I come across a story. This is how it goes:

An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.” The boy thought about it and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?” The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.” (Author unknown)

This story came at the right moment. Looking back in the year that has just gone by, which of the two wolves inside you dominated?  Were you confronted by anger or joy? Were there moments of jealousy, resentment instead of peace, love and kindness? Were there days where inferiority took over?

While putting together a plan for the future, how would you steer forward for a better tomorrow? What would be in your plans that promote possibilities over fear? What would you do to put forth the Good Wolf? Do your plans have safeguard measures to ensure they stay positive? What happens when things do not ride well, would these measures be sufficient to pull you through?

Back to my drawing board, I start to look at my plans with new eyes. Plans that make me a better person. Plans that bring sunshine and plans that touch lives. I have a choice. It is obvious which wolf I choose to feed. What about you?



When two or more are gathered …

Last evening, I met up with fellow trainers from the International Society of  Neuro-Semantics, Singapore chapter. We have met a month before and were keen to bring the group to the next level. Thus began the agenda for the next meeting.

The group dynamics was great as we could gel and had common goals. Each person had a part to play. We fed on each other’s energy and that brought the group to a whole new level. While looking at how to support fellow trainers within the region, we embarked on a new journey of hosting our own training classes, not as individuals but as a group. This is new. It is a collaborative affair with like-minded people. Brainstorming together allowed creative juices to flow and explore new avenues that have never been tread.

Having pulled resources make sense and having work partners would mean the work gets distributed. It’s economics 101 where resources are scarce and making the best use of them saw economies of scale. It is no longer a solo flight but a charted one that brings us to our destination. Together we will soar to greater heights. It would be synergistic where the sum of the parts is far greater than each individual component, having to ensure we had the ego strength to manage things together.

The commitment level of the team members was amazing. What was more awesome were the strengths that each brought with him or her complimented the weaknesses. Someone with a global perspective would be visionary while another who is detailed, got the nitty-gritty done. The doer cum performer amongst us had to ground the creator when far-fetched ideas start to emerge which had to be archived for the future. We knew what we wanted and what to move away from. If you had been there, you would see the rapport and friendly banter confirming the fiery enthusiasm within the group bursting to the brim.

It was a meeting that lasted for 2hours and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thus when two or more are gathered, we not only get more things done, we grow. I dedicate this article to my two fellow trainers, Michael and Peter who encouraged, motivated and inspired me. Who wouldn’t look forward to more of such meaningful get-together?


Positive Stress

Stress has been a dirty word for a long time. It has negative connotations and people associate stress with high blood pressure, heightened breathing, heart palpitations, panic status, eating disorders, sleeplessness, headaches and the list goes on. At some point in time, we might have experienced any one of these and feel the stress level rising. It is not a good feeling, is it? The stress symptoms signal the red flag.

Not all stress is negative. On the flip side, we do get some positive stress. Can stress be positive, I almost hear you ask. Yes, it can. So what is positive stress? You know, we can get some goodness out of it.

Let me share with you some situations of positive stress. When the opportunity arrives for you to prove yourself, this can be a form of positive stress. It may be something you have expertise of and when a project or assignment comes along where your allow your skills and knowledge to be showcased. In such cases, you are more than happy and tend to work harder filled with excitement to produce something that some one will appreciate.

Deadlines are important in our work life. Without them, we won’t know when to stop, when to submit the work needed for the next phase. Guess it is one of those necessary evils.

Here is an example I can cite personally where an advanced deadline brought on positive stress. In my last training curriculum development, there was a change in training dates and looking at the calendar, the original deadline given by the client was way off. A late submission of the module development work would mean a late approval  from the authorities, pushing back the training delivery. The deadline had to be forwarded and that meant I had to churn out the work sooner. For the first time, I managed to complete the work in record time, much. much faster than the industry practice. The positive stress kicked in resulting in higher productivity through a better working system. With that, it meant future job scope of the same nature can be done with top rate efficiency.

Positive stress puts one in a “high” state  with positively charged energy. The adrenaline that pumps through make ones feel efficient, working at a higher pace or with happiness getting to the end faster. It puts one in-charge and having the feeling of being able to control the situation driving positive results.

So you see, not all stress is negative. There is positive stress which you can strive on, riding on the positive wave, surfing with exhilaration, enjoying the work. Whether a situation is stressful or not, greatly depends on your response to pressure. Handle it correctly, it can serve you well, making the best out of it.



ImageLast month I had the privilege of attending a much awaited conference for coaches and trainers from the Neuro-Semantics community. It was held in Kuala Lumpur, a stone’s throw from Singapore, where I would be in town for some assignments.

The presentations and workshops were wonderful learning experiences where the speakers shared great insights on various topics. There were many hilarious moments when the talks were kept light hearted but serious in content.

What struck me most was the renewed friendships with fellow trainers and coaches from different parts of the world, many of whom I have not seen for more than five years. It was easy to pick up from where we left off. We could also see how much we have grown from the younger we to present now, enriched by life experiences. It was also a good time to catch up with my Indonesian friends whom I met just a couple of month ago in Bali, always warm in demeanour.

Making new friends was on my agenda, connecting with people I have not met. Some were connected through the friendly social media, Facebook and it was the first time I meet them. Others were names mentioned or listed in the regular eNewsletters sent out and when we live in a virtual community, I now can finally place the name to the face in person.

Then there was the opportunity to connect at a higher level with compatriots from the same country. It has always been a busy, rush-about time that we never stop for a cuppa. Thus being at the conference meant we could share a meal, chat a bit, share information and bounce ideas off each other. Going forward, we could now work more closely to push forward for new frontiers.

One thing that came as a surprise for me at the conference was a number of people who said they knew me when I have never, never met them before. With raised eyebrows, I wondered aloud how that came about. They explained that they have seen my name in the posts of the eNewsletters. That then made sense. I hardly post anything in response to the key message of the newsletters over the years and this year I only posted twice. I had no idea the effect of the post was more far reaching than expected when all I wanted to do was add a positive view to support the original one.

The conference has met its objectives and allowed the people in the community to connect at the deepest level, leveraging on each other’s strengths and expertise. The networking continues beyond the conference with friends linking up through social media and possibly at the next training sessions or in two years’ time, the next conference in HK. It’s a small world after all and I cannot ask for a nicer circle of global friends. I look forward to connecting with these friends again.



A Wish Realised

In the merry month of March, I have finally did what I intended to do five years ago. Yes, I know, five years does seem a long time. You know what, it has finally been done. What is it, you ask?

In 2008, a group of personal/executive coaches got together for the licensing of a profiling tool Identity Compass. During lunch we joked about going to Bali. Two coaches from the group said they should be there for a holiday taking in the sights, going to a spa and relaxing by the beach. The Indonesian coach said she would like to host a training program there.

Fast forward to 2013, the training program in its second run was held in Bali. This time, I told myself I would make it for the trip. When I met my Indonesian friend, the training host, it was so surreal. Having made the decision five long years ago only to realise it now seems too real to be true! Needless to say, the 8-day training was an awesome boot camp.

Wishing out loud and day dreaming have new meanings in my life. These visionary ideas may just materialise. I shall continue to dream and make plans … big ones, too in view that they will turn out as I imagine. Hopefully within five years!!!

Have you been dreaming lately?



Dreams Become Reality

Do you have dreams? Do you sometimes feel that your dreams are so big that you wonder if they will ever come true? I have felt that way before and wondered if the dream I have is ever going to materialise.

Just last month in Singapore, we held a Visual Merchandising Competition in the heart of the city. That was something I have always wanted … to showcase the creativity as well as the skills and knowledge of visual merchandisers, having seen the high standard of visual merchandising in local Australian stores

The idea of delivering modules related to visual display and having a competition to top it off seems a bit far fetch at first. What started out as a project to show off the Melbourne shop windows through a presentation became an opportunity to bring that to the next level. Of course, speaking to the right person who believed it can done helps.

We mooted on the idea of delivering classes and hosting a visual merchandising competition. We approached the relevant authorities and that was the beginning. We took baby steps going back and forth, conquering red tape and convincing people of what we believed in. It took months and months before something came out of it.

There was much hard work not to mention the team work behind the scenes. It became a stretch challenge. It was a learning process. The competition ran at national level and all the finalists were my past class participants, each talented in their own ways. That was the icing on the cake. Thus you can imagine my elation when the competition finally ran and I stepped back to realise that a dream is not just a dream, it can be a reality. It has taken almost 4 years. It is no longer surreal.

What are you dreaming of today? Start dreaming now.