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ConfidenceCues Launches Today

In spite of my disappearance from the blogging scene in the last few months, I declare no resentment.  After weeks of preparation and planning, I just launched a new blog today, 15 July, called Confidence Cues– our road to self-esteem and assertiveness.  This is a personal development blog aiming to give inspiration, information and support to those who would like to keep up with their self-confidence and handle it throughout their journey in life.  I am diverting most of my personal development posts in Confidence Cues and would focus on more personal stuff in this blog, Rob A Minute!

I would like to invite everyone to visit the site which goes live tomorrow.  I would appreciate your support by:

  • Signing up for free updates and get access to our email digest and support community
  • Liking our Facebook page – to get blog updates and resources
  • Following our Twitter – to get inspirational quotes

Keep your self-confidence alive always! Join us!

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Categories: Self-Help, Success Tools

Moments: Message To Perennial Procrastinators

April 6, 2012 2 comments
Quote On A Window in Old Town Sta Barbara

Copy The Jeremy Lin Success Story

February 24, 2012 2 comments

Jeremy Lin (photo from Wikipedia)

Like any other tale, Jeremy Lin’s rise to fame is beginning to be overwhelming and in a matter of time will have a cloying taste. Maybe not yet. Amidst the hype over his overnight success, Lin’s humble gestures even offer far better appeal to his life story.

Jeremy Lin is an American professional basketball player with the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is one of the few Asian Americans in NBA history, and the first American player in the league to be of Chinese or Taiwanese descent (Source: Wikipedia).  A few months back, he was fighting to be on the backup spot and was on the 12th to 15th in line to play on court . But like the fiction movie, he creeped into the limelight by surprise and there you go- an instant hero. Here’s what Kobe Bryant said of Lin: “Players playing that well don’t usually come out of nowhere. It seems like they come out of nowhere, but if you can go back and take a look, his skill level was probably there from the beginning. It probably just went unnoticed.” (ESPN.go.com )

What is Lin’s secret of success? Wasn’t he rejected by the big bosses? Surely we will all agree he proved them wrong. But it turned out that they were right. Lin, according to Dan Brown of mercurynews.com, was thriving because he realized they were right. He reinvented himself.  One of his coaches said “That’s the lesson here: If you don’t like the way things are going for you in a sport, don’t cry about it. Don’t whine to the coach. Do something about it.”

Truly, the instant hit was not at all a quick fix. It was a fruit of hard work and perseverance. Lin struggled to perfect his weak points, correct his bad habits and wrong mentality. He struck the ghost in him.

What are the lessons we learn from this new star if we want to copy his lucky streak? There’s no failure- only feedback. We need to overturn that negative thinking whenever we do not achieve something. Is it because we need to push some more or is it because we’re not doing the right thing? Take setbacks as feedback. That will be a lesson for you to hop a notch higher to where you want to go. Like Lin, we should take the outcome of our efforts as something to learn by. Only then can we start the process and try again– but of course not doing the same mistakes we made.

Lin is an inspiration not only to many aspiring players but dreamers who still believe and hope that one day they will achieve their goals in spite of the challenges. How did you face the negative outcomes of your life in the past?

***

Interesting links about Jeremy Lin :

10 Lessons Jeremy Lin Can Teach Us Before We Go To Work Monday Morning (www.forbes.com)

Bay Area trainers helped make Knicks guard Jeremy Lin better, stronger, faster  (www.mercurynews.com) 

Read And Lead The Race Today

February 12, 2012 10 comments

I have yet to finish reading three books on this shelf. Can you guess two of them?

Many years ago, there was this campaign on Philippine TV on “Read Today, Lead Tomorrow” that struck me.  I could not agree more as I was already a bookworm then hatching to be a bookmonster – haha.  I raved to read and create my own world of sorts. Don’t get me wrong.  I was not having illusions and voices on my head.  It’s just that reading brought me to different places and met many great people.

Old books and magazines that would have found its way early into the garbage, got into our house from different sources.  We were lucky to have this paradise of books not because we were rich but because there was treasure in the hand-me-down books.

I appreciated the campaign because it encouraged us kids then to read instead of spending time watching endless cartoon or playing video/computer games.

Fast forward to 2012, the slogan is still relevant with a different challenge: tech gadgets. Since I acquired my IPhone in January 2011, my habits changed.  I have slowly put off my reading habit until I broke it.  My IPhone was too hard to resist. How more can Facebook and Twitter become irresistible when they are just a tap away?  In spite of the social networks’ saturation, I still get tempted to check, check and check.  IPhone is too small for reading other stuff anyway.  Looking back, it has been more than a year and I regret breaking the habit.  I purchased a book early last year and it’s still waiting to get its last page say “fin”.  As a realization, I have put it back in my work backpack and started reading it on the train.  Oh what an effort!  I look around and see people all glued on their IPhones or IPads- not reading but doing something else.

With all the tech gadgets around- Kindle, IPad, Tablet and what have you, the challenge today is not about reading hardbooks.  It is about finding time to make a serious reading of some relevant books- hard and electronic books alike.  Most of the tech gadgets have functions other than ebook reader.  So, who’s reading books in those tablets? Most of us would probably be tempted to check our friends’ social network status or play Angry Birds. I’m not saying don’t do it.  I’m just sending the message from the Book: R E A D  M E…

Did anybody tell you why reading is important? Here’s my own answer as I could not find a quick one on the net:

1. Enhances knowledge. While almost all information can be picked up on the internet, all the details are not complete.  Nowadays you do not need to buy a book to learn how-tos.  However, you will still need to pick up the book for the details and the fulfillment of getting the hard information and facts from the source.

2. Stimulates the brain. This is another obvious reason that comes out of the exercise of reading. Surely games do stimulate but it does not add knowledge.  So between a helpful stimulating game and a book that adds knowledge- which one do you choose first.  Ultimately, it’s a matter of priority. You can still have the game 🙂

3. Directs your focus on the important things. When you develop the habit of reading, you also improve your attitude towards important and less important things in your life.  You learn to give up crap for the more useful things.

4. Feeds your passion. When you read books that interest you, it works like the air that ignites the fire in your passion.  It keeps the love burning and moving forward to something beneficial. It keeps you from stagnation or complacency.

5. Brings you ahead of the race. Who is reading nowadays?  Not so many people.  This then you in a better position because you have more knowledge, more focus, and more passion.

So need I say more? Start to develop or rekindle your reading habit. There’s no other way to do it if you want to lead the race.  Visit the bookstore or Amazon and find something you can read either with a hard book or with your tablet.  When was the last time you were excited about reading a new book?

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Categories: Self-Help, Success Tools

Rob's Challenge: Go 3D in 2012

December 31, 2011 2 comments

New Year is just around the corner and everyone is talking about the New Year resolutions once more. Shouldn’t we? Well, as for me, it is a good time when everyone else joins the hype of some resolution at the start of the year, to reflect for myself the accomplishments and blessings for the past year. And it is also a time to face the incoming year with a big bang and a resolution to be the new or better me. Do all your rituals, superstitions and celebrations but do not forget the most important- to be resolute to start again. So let me pose a challenge to everyone to go 3D in 2012. Just three things to do over the weekend:

1. Dream. Whatever it is, not necessarily something to accomplish this year but something you want. Keep it in mind and resolve to claim it for yourself. Travel to Europe? Build a farm? Start a business? Lose weight? Look 10 years younger? Join a marathon? Raise your income? Get your dream job? Buy a house? Identify 3 dreams you want to get in three target years. Stagger them in short and long terms to make it realistic- for example, it can be in one year, in 5 years and in 20 years.

2. Dream Board. Yes, buy a cork board or a white board where you can post or write your dreams. I picked this up from a friend in Facebook and thought it was a good idea. Writing it down, seeing it everyday, and being proud of it makes you want and need it. As my favorite saying goes, “Throw the hat out of the fence so you have to go out to pick it up”. Feel free to use your creativity to write on your dream board.

3. Do it. Really, seriously! Go to the storage room and see if you have a whiteboard. If not, buy one. It does not cost a fortune to do so. You need to do this within 3 days.

So there you have it. My 3Ds. The first step to your dream. My challenge is for you to do these three this weekend. We can make this fun and at the same time serious. So everyone who takes up to the challenge, please share them in this blog by commenting on this post on what you think, any feedback or suggestion. Once you have done the above, send me an email and share your dream/s and when you want to have them (year), a picture of your dream board and how you are progressing. Note that whatever you sent, we may publish them on the blog. Let’s go 3D in 2012!

Categories: Dreams, Success Tools

Your First 90 Days Is Critical

September 25, 2011 Leave a comment

The challenge of a new chapter in your career!

Book Review: “The First 90 Days” by Michael Watkins

The President of the Philippines gets his first 100 days to prove himself.  This is like a dipstick of how the incumbent president will run the country for the rest of his 6 year-term.  Hence, many look forward to his report on his first 100 and has always been controversial.  Well, every one of us have the first few days in any new chapter in our life.  As for our profession, we normally are given 3 to 6 months to perform for our bosses to see how we will make it or break it.  The book “The First 90 Days” by Michael Watkins captures attention among us who would be entering a new phase in our career.  As you browse over the table of contents, you will feel that this book somewhat can help you get ideas, maybe new or maybe the same old ones we must be reminded about.  When I picked up this book more than a year ago, I was not starting a new job but was curious what was on it that I can still learn from. I definitely learned lessons from the book that I could apply when I step to a new role or assignment.  However, some principles can also be applied when dealing with my job in different settings after the first 100 days and beyond.

First of all, in entering a new role or job, there will always be a “first time” and you can never be enough expert of everything. And of course I do not only refer to the specific profession or industry, but to the specific products or services offered by the company or maybe even some practices that are peculiar to the company that may even be a “best practice” in the industry.  Watkins emphasized the seriousness of planning strategically to ensure victory in the new responsibility.  As such, you can never overdo anything in understanding your new role, learning company products and services, getting along with the team and the “practices”.

Two of the key challenges that Watkins offer that I find very enlightening are:

1.  Match strategy with the situation- several company circumstances were listed down as there never really is one style to handle an organization or a team. The four type of business situations identified were: start-up, turnaround, realignment and sustaining success which was aptly called STaRS for short.  Indeed these situations demand unique directions or there will be  disharmony and even confusion on what the team understands to be the path and where it is really going.  For example, in a company there cannot be too much emphasis on processes when the company is trying to make up for losses. This is like applying a “sustaining success” which is to improve further on what the company does not have, when it is not earning enough revenue due to poor sales effort for young company (in a turnaround situation).

2. Negotiate success- how is performance going to be measured? Is it based on sales increase? Is it based on customer or employee satisfaction? Never assume everything is the same with your previous job and your new one. Unless there is an agreement between you and your superior of what is expected in spite of the real challenge, you might end up not aligning to the expectations.

The book teaches us to really make a 90-day plan and make it a burning fire that rolls around the organization or team. This will ensure it will make an impact on you and your team’s performance.  And it can only be gauged how this is felt on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis.  This book is a masterpiece that will guide leaders in tackling the test of his first days in a new career.  This will also prepare young managers and professionals in handling their jobs at whatever level they are in because they will understand how leadership’s direction is going, and for their own use, how they can find the road to success within the organization.

I find that the book is one of those that presents practical tools to help you in your new endeavor.  Good luck !

Categories: Management, Success Tools

Earn A "Degree" in Soft Skills

September 18, 2011 2 comments

Having a title attached to your name is indeed impressive and somewhat makes a lot of difference in one’s professional journey. Hence it is undeniable that earning a title, a degree, or a diploma brings with it some fancy in one’s curriculum vitae. Admit it, we are all hungry for some recognition or credits that somehow we will be able to use to our advantage. We call this skill set- the hard skills that we often have taken out of formal training that gives us a credible recognition. These are more tangible and quantifiable set of skills that we can easily demonstrate. For example, if you are a business degree holder, you can easily prove that with your diploma, and further support that with your grades from college. However, as you go along your journey in professional life, this does not seem to be enough. We will find out soon enough that we need these intangible and hard to quantify assets known as soft skills in order to ensure we have a certain degree of stability in the job we are to undertake. These skills generally relate to one’s emotional intelligence quotient (EQ), defined in Wikipedia as “ the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language , personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people”. In the end soft and hard skills complement each other.

What are these soft skills? Do we have issues that we need to resolve in this area? To give one a clearer idea of what these are, I have scanned through the net to see which are the common soft skills that are required at work or in most environments but also remember that they are also needed in one’s personal life:

  1. Leadership
  2. Personal Interaction
  3. Public Speaking
  4. Assertiveness

It is a good question to ask ourselves: how much time have I spent learning the soft skills vs the hard skills. Oftentimes, the hard skills are easy to get because they are tangible and most trainings are geared towards this objective. Soft skills are hard to obtain because for one, we do not just get them by merely attending a training session or reading a book. All the “How-to’s” relating to soft skills lying around the internet will not necessarily answer your deficiencies. Perhaps they could give you a solution on what to do but until you make the step to do them and practice, you will never receive your “diploma” of achievement. Your achievement will only be demonstrated by personal confidence and happiness, better performance at work, harmonious relationship at work or home or being able to encourage teamwork within a group.

Ultimately, soft skills can only be achieved through harder work. Let me share with you what I am trying to do in getting to this path of self-improvement:

  1. Identify your key concerns that relate to soft sills.
  2. Establish a very specific goal of what you want to achieve: develop self-confidence in public speaking; be a better leader to your team; be more sensitive to the needs of others; learning how to listen rather than always speaking.  These are just examples but always remember the SMART rule: Keep it Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed.
  3. Find time to always review your goal on a daily, weekly and monthly basis- depending on the nature of your goal.

What are you waiting for? Enroll now for a “degree” in soft skills.

Categories: Management, Success Tools
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