Archive for the ‘Living Life’ category

Appreciate The Deeper Level Of Negotiation…

July 31, 2009

Training overseas has always been an exciting experience for me. The days before traveling are filled with a sense of anticipation. At the same time, I get to read up and prepare more to adapt to the customs and cultures of that country I am traveling to. This also gives me an opportunity to further customize my trainings and talks in accordance to the practices of the locals. I enjoy it thoroughly. Besides, who would turn down the chance to make more friends from other countries?


I was in Indonesia recently for an intensive training on “Effective Negotiation with Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP)”. This program was specially designed for the staffs of a major international bank. This time round, I incorporated plenty of important negotiation concepts into the updated version of this essential skill.


And I was very pleased with the participants. Ranging from the eager learners to the sincere appreciators, they made my trip to Indonesia feel welcome and the warmth was undeniable. The sharing included a part of their culture, one that embraces service quality. I am deeply impressed by their commitment to customer service excellence.


We moved into discussing on the deeper concepts of negotiation. The exchanges and enquires were filled with fervor, reflecting the innate desire to acquire negotiation comprehension, fast and rigorous. I was up to the task, for I loved such interactions. It was negotiation-in-training at its best.


As a result, these were some of the in-depth negotiation concept discussed:


1. Negotiation is a skill you cannot do without in life. It happens almost everywhere.


2. Negotiation requires knowledge of human psychology and behavioral understanding.


3. The better you can negotiate; the sooner you will attain your life goals.


4. The outcome of negotiation is sometimes already determined before you meet the other party.


5. Negotiation is often an art too, not just merely scientific procedure of technical transaction.


6. Negotiation exists because of our primary emotional nature.


7. Negotiation is at times, not what it seems.


 It does take reflection, application and close observation to further appreciate what these concepts mean. Yet when one sees beyond the fundamentals and include the strategies, the ways to get your intended outcome through negotiating become clear as sky. I encourage you to contemplate on these reasoning and integrate them into your daily practices as a negotiator of life.

May you Excel Beyond Excellence in your negotiations!




5 Ways You Can Gain A New Perspective Of Life

May 31, 2009

These few weeks have been extremely packed with the training workshops and coaching. These trainings range from Anger Management to Counselling and Leadership Management Skills, tapping on the different aspects of human behaviour and capacities.


In addition, what I truly like are the experiences I’ve encountered and the new friends I’ve gotten to know, be it at the workshops or the social gatherings. It does speak of the need to see the world beyond what our personal perspectives can offer.


In the midst of us being in pursue of whatever we hope for in life, I’m just wondering how often do we take time to smell the roses, stopping by the tracks to appreciate what we might have missed.


To look at life in another way, consider these:


1. Stop being busy for the sake of being busy. Start re-evaluating the reasons why you work at what you are currently working at and the ultimate purpose behind it.


2. Speak to someone whom you consider to be in a much worse off condition than you. You’ll discover how much difference in lifestyle there can be.


3. Attempt to perform a regular task in an irregular way. For example, take a different route on your way to work or to school. Discover the things you don’t usually see along the way.


4. Read an article that is usually outside your common area of interest. If you’re into baking and cooking, why not explore a book about the Milky Way of the galaxy and see if there’s any ‘correlation’ that you may derive out of it. You’ll be surprised how creative your mind can get.


5. Mediate your mind and reduce the pace of your living. Allow relaxation to handle your life’s demands. Not everything must be done in a panicky, hurried manner.


These exercises hence form an essential part of our growth and development as a citizen of the world. It becomes a beginning foray into what might be beyond the mere hustles and bustles of mere busyness. Or perhaps it may give you a new meaning to what life and living is all about…


At the very least, it sets you on the path to Excel Beyond Excellence.


Seeking Your Passion: A Reflective Speech On The Chase For Activities Points

April 9, 2009

Many people have been chasing after their desires. Some made it while others chased in vain. During one of the recent Club meeting in National University of Singapore (NUS), I got to hear a speech sharing by one of the upcoming exciting speakers, Chrissy Phoong. She gave an account on her journey in the National University of Singapore where she participated intensively in a number of Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs). Towards the end, she shared with us the using of a gold coin to seek her passion.

Her speech was one that warrants reflection and was apt as a reminder to us. How many of us are seeking our passion and living it out? With her permission, I publish her speech below.

Do think about the lessons we can learn after reading what she had shared. I wish you a life that is filled with passion everyday.

The Chase for CCA Points in NUS
Ever wondered what foolish enthusiasm will lead you to do? Let me enlighten you what happens if that irrational passion is translated to an innocent and naive foreigner who’d just entered the university without any peers. She goes on to take 6 Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs), having leadership roles in 3 of them, with complete disregard for her other responsibilities as a student. This is the tale filled with drama, times for being deliriously happy and times for being downright dejected and depressed.

This is the story of me, Chrissy Phoong less than two years ago in NUS.

I was enthusiastic about everything when I first came to my residence hall. Though I was living in this small enclosed box-like area without the ever-comforting luxury of air-conditioning, I was still excited. I was finally out of my parents’ clutches. The Malays have a saying for people like me, ‘katak di bawah tempurung’ which directly translates to a frog under a coconut shell. I was too sheltered to the point of ignorance of the outside world. Though I’m a city girl from Kuala Lumpur, I was like the country mouse who first came to the city and only saw the splendors and shimmering sights of everything. In my first year, I was too entranced by the lure of CCA points and brand-new activities, not knowing what I was getting into until I opened the Pandora’s Box by joining too many of them.

The CCAs I joined were as follows: I was in the residence block committee where we were in charge of the welfare of the residents, the Programme Head for the King Edward VII Malaysian Night where I had to organize the heart and core of the event, a journalist in the hall publications committee, I joined the hall’s softball team, a sport which I was completely clueless about, the English Literary and Drama club where later I was chosen to be co-movie director and co-script writer, and also the Vice-Lead in a newly formed sub-committee, ASEANpreneurs in the NUS Entrepreneurship Society. It’s a mouthful to explain about the 6 co-curricular activities and trust me, it’s a whole lot of responsibilities entrusted to a nineteen-year-old.

Joining all these inevitably damaged my academic performance and it was really quite a miserable aspect to contemplate at that time. It affected me so much that by just hearing the phrase, “What’s your score?” would launch me into the cycle of self-doubt and contempt. Looking at my results was like a tornado sweeping me off my feet and I was clueless about when and where I was going to land. I really thought there was no meaning in life as I was studying something I was not passionate about. To say it was a difficult time for me at that time would be an understatement.

Nevertheless, despite all these negative feelings, I can’t bring myself today to regret what I’ve done during my first year. I’ve gained experiences that I would never have obtained if I concentrated only on my studies. Some of the things I did during my first year were what the Japanese termed as ‘ichigo ichie’ moments, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

During that first year, I discovered the wondrous world of writing which has become one of my passions in life, discovered the art of movie production, won my first ever and possibly last gold sports medal for Inter-Hall Games, and found friends who would be with me through thick and thin in Singapore. Despite the poor academic performance, I’ve truly learnt a lot and matured exponentially as a human being during my first year.

During my 2nd year, I was wise enough to move out of my hall as I was pretty sick and tired of having to climb 200 steps to reach my room every day, and having to wait for the infrequent shuttle buses to the Engineering Faculty located at the other end of the campus. I was also more selective in choosing my co-curricular activities. The three committees I joined suited my passion for the cause and my pursuit for learning. These three committees were NUSSU SAVE, The Ridge and of course, Toastmasters.

During my course of being a news and sports journalist for The Ridge, I had the chance to interview teamNUS Aquathlon. One of them gave me a very nice piece of wisdom which I would like to share with all of you. Every day we are given a gold coin to spend. I chose it to buy memories that I might not have the chance to experience it again.

As youths, this is our golden time. So, why not spend that gold coin seeking for your true passion, to find a meaningful purpose in life? I did that, and I’ve found my passion. What about you? Have you found yours? How would you want to spend your gold coin today? Tomorrow? In the future? Think about it.


The Art Of Making Your Mentorship Meaningful

January 24, 2009

It was early this week that I met up with my various Mentees. I’ve always enjoyed such meetings because this offers an opportunity to catch up as well as speak up on the different issues faced, both in communication and in life.

Upon reflection and recollection of my mentorship workshops, I took greater strides to apply some of the concepts into my mentoring style. Because of the different personalities and experience you’ll come to face with from others, the mentorship relationship becomes ever evolving. That’s why mentoring is an art in itself.

When you employ the strategy and tools of mentorship, you effectively put in gear the cycle of change. It takes tact in communication and sensitivity in implementation. Very much have to be tied down and set up between the two of you, be it you being the mentor or the mentee.

I suggest employing the art of creating a “Meaningful Mentorship” by paying attention to the following pointers:

For Mentors:

1. Inculcate the spirit of sharing for the two of you.

2. Understand that learning is two-way. While your mentee learns from you, so can you learn.

3. Create a culture of mutual communication for trust and reliability.

For Mentees:

1. Know what makes your mentor tick so that you know how to maximize his accomplishments.

2. Ask the right questions to get the best practices.

3. Respect and show appreciation to your mentor. When you show appreciation, your mentor feels appreciated and is willing to support you further, giving more in the process.


7 Practical Ways To Increase Your Emotional Intelligence And Mental Dexterity

January 16, 2009

For these couple of weeks, I’ve been working on a number of courses that are coming up for the year. A significant time was also spent on customizing them to fit into clients’ demands. In addition, the training and coaching sessions have also be rather packed. A very fruitful start for this New Year indeed.

The past 3 days were spent conducting the highly intensive training on “Emotional Intelligence at Work”. As the training is customized for a major government institution, I highlighted specific examples where the participants could display Emotional Intelligence (EI) for themselves as well as in their daily dealings with their bosses, colleagues and customers (BCC). Through the sharing and discussions, I was extremely pleased to know that the participants found even more ways to apply emotional intelligence beyond what was taught. Now that’s empowerment for them!

Leading on, here are some of the practical things you can do to raise your Emotional Intelligence as well as the agility of your mind:

1. Appreciating others for the effort done in the projects, irregardless of the extend of the success.

2. Have daily greetings to your fellow colleagues, and mean what you say.

3. Think positively empowering thoughts and be solution-oriented to maintain your mental health.

4. Harness the quick learning from every task for future improvements.

5. Reflect on your own behavior and the outcome of your action.

6. Work on mending the differences with others instead of harboring animosity.

7. Give yourself a reason to arrive at work with enthusiastic energy each day.


A New Thought For The New Turn Of The Year

December 31, 2008

As the clock goes ticking away, the world awaits the turn of the year. Many people look forward eagerly to the arrival of 2009 with a sense of anticipation and hope. A hope that the New Year will be better, a wish that the current outlook will be brighter, and a yearning that personal lives will be smoother.

This year, 2008, has been filled with turning events, ranging from tainted scandals, to elections and change of governments, from terrorists events to monumental human achievements. These are all worth reflecting, analyzing and discussing, along with the fact that they provide lessons worth learning.

Granted some events are beyond our personal control, but there are surely things in life that we can affect and have some influence over. These things that we can do, no matter how miniscule, are things that we can do. And that is enough, for now.

Therefore as we watch the hours, minutes and seconds drawing closer toward the countdown, what we can hold in our mind is this:

What can I do next?

In the light of merely having the events happen and sweep pass us, what we can ponder about are the things we can do for ourselves and the people around us. This simple thought in the form a question can drive people to create ultimately massive changes in the world.

At the very least, it will set us of in the direction we want in our lives. Think about the allure of knowing what your life in gear the very moment the clock strikes twelve. I would be pretty excited by the prospects of this.

Some of the questions that you can think about on this last day of 2008 in preparation for the New Year include:

— Do I want to treat people better?

— Do I intend to work on my communication?

— Are there things that are left over to accomplish?

— Am I ready to quit unproductive things that I should have stopped long ago?

— What can I pay attention to in my life?

— What has been sitting there, idling, screaming for me to work on?

— Have I taken the following step towards my dream?

Whatever that, in your perspective, would be meaningful to you will hence add that value to this turn of the year. After all, if we are to carry something forward from this departing year, we might as well bring over the residual learning and our dreams to the next 365 days.

May you take a closer step towards your life goals and Excel Beyond Excellence!

Have a wonderful New Year! See you in 2009!


From A Time Of Birthday Reflection To A Year Of Growth

December 24, 2008

As I sit here in the middle of the night typing out my thoughts, I can’t help taking a quick glance at my organizer. Flipping the dogged-ear pages back and forth brought back a sense of sweet nostalgic feelings. I remembered just a year ago, on my Birthday; I made my annual reflective recollection in my own quiet time.

It brought to mind how thankful I was for the year’s encounters. I also remembered the friends I’ve made in my talks, trainings as well as those who had engaged me as their personal coach. The contributions they’ve allowed me to make in their lives had helped in my grand appreciation of the world at large.

These fuelled my realization of how complex the entire human race can be, yet how simple the solutions can turn out to become.

Paradoxical, perhaps? Yes, indeed.

And you’ll be surprised how much an irony life can turn out to be.

Nonetheless, to me, it simply means how clear cut I can see the answers to the problems are. These insights now merge into an experience and discovery I’ve deeply treasured in my personal capacity as a citizen of my community and of the entire universe. Hence, I strive to add these values and learning into my work as a speaker and trainer.

In the course of this year I’ve been receiving an increasing amount of speaking, coaching and training engagements. They are often packed back to back, at times running for a series of days. Hence a nearly continuous standing up of 8 to 11 hours a day makes my legs demand that I treat them to a warm massage and a deep healing rub. Despite their lamentations, I carried on “mis-treating” them. But, it’s all worth it.

It’s an emotional high whenever I speak or train! No joke. I’ve never been as serious as now. 🙂

Therefore, this is what makes me grow. I’ve discovered that: When I’m doing what I truly love, it’s all worth it!

Ok, I know some people will exclaim, “But I’m not doing what I love?!!”

Then, my friend, it’s time for you to reflect, and find a reason to love what you do. And you’ll start to grow too.

Complex problem, simple solution.

Merry Christmas to you!


5 Important Steps To Super-Charge Your Relationship Communication In Life

December 19, 2008

It was just a few nights ago where the evening newspaper, Lian He Wan Bao, published my advice on the headlines and the inner page. I was engaged by the organizers because of my expertise in relationship communication and my experience in coaching different people.

Based on what the reporter had observed, I was being interviewed and shared some practical tips on how people can improve their relationships with each other.

As a Professional Excellence speaker and trainer, I am passionately interested to see people communicate better, build quality relationships, eventually be competent in all the Professional Excellence skills and ultimately excel beyond in various aspects of their lives.

Indeed, we must start to consider how the world has changed and evolved. It’s through our self-reflection and mutual consideration that we can discover enhanced ways to relate with one another.

Be it with colleagues, parent and child, staff and boss, friends or other forms of interaction, you have to be more tactful and remain sensitive to your relationship building skills. Fortunately, there are 5 of such important steps to make our communication so much better in our relationships and interactions.

The steps are:

Step 1: Consider the other party’s position first.

Step 2: Understand how the way you communicate your viewpoints can affect that person and your relationship.

Step 3: Seek to bridge the gap between both perceptions by establishing the common purposes.

Step 4: Practice saying those sentences to yourself before you talk in person. Ensure they come across acceptable.

Step 5: Check for mutual understanding and appreciation during the communication process.

Remember, Communicate Well, Make Your Relationship Excel!


If You Are Happy, You Are Worth At Least $20,000

December 8, 2008

Suppose you were given the choice of hanging around with happy hearty people or slugging it out with the depressed gloomy grouches, which will you choose? And why?

Well, chances are, most people do prefer the smiling faces with that sincere joyous mood than to see the frowns on the facials.

It’s little wonder that we are so driven to want to be happy. Perhaps the journey towards happiness might be a bit mystical and obscure, with the unpredictable climate of changes in different life dimensions. However, being around happy people do seem to help alleviate those drowsy blues.

According to Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, who has just recently concluded a study on happiness and its interactive results, he said, “Your happiness depends not just on your choices and actions, but also on the choices and actions of people you don’t even know who are one, two and three degrees removed from you,”

Hailing from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Christakis, a trained physician and social scientist, affirmed that, “Emotions have a collective existence — they are not just an individual phenomenon.”

The study by his team of researchers had analyzed data, statistics and information ranging from 1983 to 2003. It was based on the happiness of 4,739 people as well as their social connections. These included their spouses, relatives, close friends, neighbors and co-workers.

It emerged with evidence that the more happy people you know and surround yourself with, the more likely you will be happier yourself. Hence, happiness is contagious, it gets “spread”.

Co-researcher, Associate Professor of Political Science, James H. Fowler from The University of California, San Diego said their research discovered the link that “if your friend’s friend’s friend becomes happy, that has a bigger impact on you being happy than putting an extra $5,000 in your pocket.”

Drawing from further data, they determined that your neighbor’s joyfulness and delight can improve your own happiness by 34 percent. Your happy network and contacts will increase your joy by 15 percent, while your friend’s happy friend or your closed one’s elated friend adds 10 percent to your chances of being happy.

Finally, your friend’s friend’s friend, the 3rd degree contact, will add 6 percent to your personal joyfulness level. Be with any additional unhappy person, and you become unhappier by 7 percent concurrently as each negative person enter your contact.

This means that your happiness level is able to affect people around you and your close acquaintances.

A note to add, the researches are not advising that you change all melancholy your friends, but strive to work together for an improved relationship.

Extending from other previous studies, they asserted that an extra $5,000 improved your chances of happiness by 2 percent. This, Dr. Christakis, would imply that “a happy friend is worth about US $20,000”

That’s what I call a golden smile. 🙂


Exploring The Essence Of What It Truly Means To Be A Befriender

December 6, 2008

As Day 2 of the double Sunday Befrienders’ Training last week came to an end, some participants lingered on. We managed to discuss on the real life issues that faced the client’s families. These are not merely misunderstanding but real cumbersome problems that plagued these families and existed for a long time.

Being a Befriender implies that one ought to be ready to serve that special friend for the troubled person. Your presence could sometimes make the difference between the family’s hope and despair. You bring the hope, the comfort and the possibilities of a brighter outlook to their own future.

The following essential points thus become crucial for the Befriender:

1. The key to being a Befriender is Trust. And you will be entrusted with many untold information divulged by the family you befriend.

2. You have to balance the Ethics issue with your Integrity as a Befriender.

3. Your perspective of life is called into challenge. Be steadfast but receptive to other lifestyles that exist for your befriending family.

4. You should help the family prepare for a life after you. Guide them as a friend to help themselves live better on their own.

5. Both of you are eventually transformed, enriched and empowered in the process. It’s not only that the family gets better; it also becomes your personal reflection to appreciate life.