Thursday, August 30, 2012

Little Words of Encouragement


I’ve had an okay month. Not exactly a spectacular month because of the many things I couldn’t accomplish, but above all else, I’m grateful for life. It’s easy to go everyday complaining about things that are not working well instead of just being grateful for the things that are on course. I try to imagine myself being the one that provides air, food, water, shelter, and abundance of rain, fair weather, good jobs, and all the other good things of life to humans and with the abundance of all these things I provide, someone still complains about how he or she doesn’t have enough money to add to what they already have. The thought that people don’t care much about what I do or complain that I’m not doing enough is sufficient to start another episode of Noah and the Ark.

I have two stories to share.

Two weeks ago, I had this massive eye issue. It was so bad that I couldn’t do anything at work because looking at my screen alone was a huge problem; my eyes were watery, they hurt so bad and were itchy. Thankfully, it got better after about a week and I was okay. I’ve started taking precautionary measures to stay off eye makeup and bright screens.
Few days ago, I met this man, a senior executive in a multinational company who was sharing an experience. He mentioned that for a couple of years now, he’s had to deal with eye issues and hasn’t been able to find a medical cure for it. He said his eyes will hurt so badly sometimes that he’d be useless for hours; or sometimes, he’d just sit and for no reason, water will start coming out of his eyes like when someone is crying; this actually happened while we were talking, tears just started flowing out of his eyes. When I asked if he had been to the hospital, he smiled and said “you have no idea how much I’ve spent” and he stopped at that.
While I was complaining about how I couldn’t use eye makeup for a week because the water will smear my mascara, someone else is constantly battling with worse situations. You stay complaining about why your eyes are too big or too small; not bright enough or not having the right color; someone else is just praying for eyes that can work well. That man has more than enough money to take care of himself, but his eyes still give him so much trouble.

Second story.
I have a colleague at work who is a cancer survivor. He had cancer in his college days in Germany many years back and he was telling his experience about chemotherapy, alopecia, losing years of school and so on. He went to talk to a woman who presently has cancer in an attempt to encourage her that whether or not she survives it, she is safe in the hands of God. The passion with which this woman spoke about how grateful she is for the number of years she lived in sound health made me feel guilty about myself.
I am very familiar with cancer. I know it so well and I know it’s a hard place to be especially for the family of the patient; both financially and emotionally. But with this woman’s family, you can see gratitude to God despite the challenges they are facing. She has two grown daughters that have this aura of joy around them and it amazes me how they manage to stay joyful through the illness.
**End of Stories**

At the risk of writing an epistle, this is a word of encouragement that no matter how crooked or hopeless a situation might be, there are still reasons to be thankful. It might not be health challenges; it might be failure to accomplish some set goals of 2012 as we enter into the so-called “ber” months; it might even be dealing with loss in any form. What I know is this: God always leaves at least a tiny little reason to be thankful whether or not He does something.
Whatever it is that you are facing; realize that the end hasn’t come and as long as you are alive, you can still get through it. There’s always time to make something better as long as you’re still breathing.

This is the reason I’m grateful for life.

Have an awesome September!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mentoring 101


When I was younger, one of the questions they used to ask frequently either in schools or when you’re filling that “goodbye book” everybody used to fill back then (I think it was called slung book or something, forgive me if I’m wrong) was “Who is your Role Model?”.  My curious self always wondered what anybody’s business was with whom my mentor was and I remembered having different answers every time the question was asked. I had Ben Carson, Pastor Adeboye, My Dad, and My Mum and so on at different points in time. I’m sure of one thing though: My Dad had the highest number of occurrences then; I’ve always wanted to be (partially) like him and I still want to be like him today.

As I grew older; I came to realize that there’s a major difference between whom you admire and who you want to be like. I might admire and get inspiration from someone who isn’t my role model. Let’s break it down in the most basic way we can:
A role is a function or a position
A model is a standard or example for imitation or comparison.

Admire: to regard something (someone, a quality, etc.) with respect or warm approval.
Therefore, a role model is the standard in a function or a position.  

This is how I understand it: I might appreciate some qualities about a person, but it doesn’t mean I want to be like the person. For instance (and this is not personal in any way), I appreciate some qualities about BeyoncĂ©- her voice, her ability to hold it all together and of course, her figure, but I do not want to be her or want to be like her simply because she doesn’t fit into the picture of how I see myself. On the flip side, I’d look at Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) and think “hmm, that’s a great woman that I can fashion some parts of my life after”

If you call somebody your role model, following the definition above, the person should presently be or should have been in a position where you know that you can fit into with little or no adjustments; so it will be easier and more appropriate for me (as a techie) to call Marissa Mayer (Yahoo) a model than to call Victoria Azerenka (Tennis).

Also, I have come to discover that it is almost impossible to have one role model- professionally, spiritually or personally except God is your model. God is the only one that cut it perfectly; every other person comes with baggage and the ability to be able to separate the baggage from the exceptional qualities is what makes you the better person. You definitely have someone you aspire to be like personally, another professionally, another martially and the list goes on because of certain qualities that have that you see yourself being able to emulate. Combine all of that together with your own baggage, and you have a total package. (Did you notice I just rhymed? :D) If you have just one model, you have to be a really blessed person.  

I found an article on Forbes recently talking about mentorship amongst female professionals and different people had different things to say about how the women already at the top (Generation X) do not properly mentor the younger generation (Generation Y). This one stood out for me:

“I recently spoke with a female leader I admire about work/personal life balance.  She explained to me that she has given all of her energy and time to her professional life, and in retrospect, at 65 years old, she wishes that she had allowed for more balance with other areas of her life.  This conversation affirmed me in my personal search for balance and my own recognition that I seek professional mentors who share my values. I do not want to live to work – I want to work to live.  I want to succeed at work and contribute to my work place and community.  I want the time I spend working to be meaningful, but I also want plenty of time to pursue passions outside of work such as volunteering, having a family and traveling.  If I found a mentor who did not share those values, their advice would have only limited value to me.”

This leads me to the question:

What do you personally look for in a role model or mentor, both professionally, personally and in other ways?

Side Notes
  • Forgive all the tech names. Err…I’m techie.
  • There’s a slight difference between a mentor and a role model. I have used them to mean the same thing here.
  • Big birthday shout out to Toinlicious. Wish you many more years in good health and prosperity. God bless you!
  • Thank God It’s (almost) Friday. J
  • Shout out to my two new followers. Thank you guys J

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gold Chase: Usain Bolt

Permit me to be among the people that will do what many other people will do after the Olympics. I like to pen down some memorable things I learn after every major sporting event in the world.

Last night, alongside with many other uncountable people, I spent 10 memorable seconds watching the battle for the fastest man on the planet which at the end of the day didn't end up being a battle, but an award given to a well-deserving man.

The frenzy is dying down now but the lasting effects of those few seconds will remain with us for a long time to come. A couple of things ran through my head this morning while thinking about the whole race all over again and I'd like to share:

1. He was an early "discoverer" <====
Usain Bolt is 25!!!  and he is the 4th most valuable athlete in the entire world (I read that somewhere; can't find it now); just in case you didn't know that. Nobody builds talent in one day. It all starts with discovering what you have and not ignoring it. Imagine if he had discovered he could run like that and stayed a local/community champion, would we even know his name today? Dude discovered his talent and worked on it. I once read a story about Tiger woods who practised golf everyday at 4am since he was 3 or 4 years old; little wonder he's one of the greatest names in golf today.

I know that many of us are probably past the age of discovery and we are all chasing paper and comfort now, but IT'S NEVER TOO LATE. Imagine if everyone in the world discovered that one thing they are good at and stuck with it; the kind of life we would be living right now will be very amazing.

2. He ran against himself
After the race, as usual there were a couple playbacks in slow motion and one of them showed Bolt running while looking to the left as against looking ahead and at that moment, it struck me that the dude was actually looking at the clock and I thought Wow! who does that? Where other contestants were focused on finishing the race for the chance at a medal, my  guy was there trying to beat his own record by ensuring he did better than the last one.

So here's what I learnt; when you have become so good at what you do, other people do not really matter any more as competition, but you are the only thing stopping you; meaning that the only thing/person stopping you from being better than you are now is yourself. Sharpen yourself. Dare to do better than yourself and stop at absolutely nothing to be better than you are now in the skill you've got.

3. He shared the moment.
This is probably one of the most important lessons in life. Bolt won; not Blake but I'm sure we all saw that they both had the moment. Even though everybody was screaming "Bolt Away" and "Usain" at the top of their voices, dude shared the moment with his friend and fellow contestant. He probably had a choice to have an exclusive celebration, but they both had the moment. Remember at Wimbledon women's finals when Serena Williams won, she ran up to her father first to celebrate. Tiger Wood's father is also a known name today because he helped his son. I could go on and on with examples, but I'm sure we get the point.

Lesson's pretty obvious. Every moment you get in the spotlight didn't happen because of you. It happened because many other people were involved and those other people deserve to be recognized as you are recognized.

So that's it. I hope it made sense.

Side Notes:
a. Very soon, we will start "Bolting." No more planking and stuff. We shall now start the Bolting process. I shall be part of this one. No dulling. :D

b. Did y'all see the London Police tribute? Epic moment people. Epic moment. 
Okay. Have a great week. Cheers!.