Archive for the ‘Passion’ category

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.



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!


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.


When The Boss Speaks: How Should You, The Management, Make A Speech So Your Staffs Will Listen. (7 Proven Pointers To Guide You Through)

November 22, 2008

As long as you are holding the managerial position, you will eventually find yourself having to give talks to your staffs. By default of the fact that you are a manger or a leader, you have to deal with people. Whenever it comes to working with others, relationships, emotions, opinions come into the picture. You cannot avoid this. It’s all part of the art of working together.

Whenever I coach the managers and top executives individually or in a group, I help them to better craft their speeches to further appeal to their staffs. I call this “Leadership and Management Talk”. After all, the power of public speaking by leaders can never be discounted. They should never be taken lightly at all.

Think of how the US President-elect Barack Obama triumphed in the recent Presidential Election and won the massive numbers of voters over with his power of eloquence, thrilling and inspiring the audience in the process.

Should you work on these forms of leadership talk, I’m sure you will benefit greatly as a result. It will absolutely augur well for you as a manager, a leader, or both.

Therefore when you, the boss, speak, consider the following pointers:

1. The speech is really about them. When your staffs are willing to work well as a result of your speech, then can the company take off.

2. Keep your points smooth and flowing. Make it easy to listen to, absorb and understand what you want them to know.

3. Avoid mixing up the issues and over interfacing them with multiple layers of problematic discussions. Focus on one point at a time, please.

4. In your speech, let them know that you do care for their wellbeing, really. And show full sincerity.

5. Raise examples from their own job situations, instead of asking them to understand yours. People usually see from their own points, not others.

6. Include an avenue where they can see or air their views with you. Remember, outlet, outlet, outlet. People need a channel for let go and to give out emotional concerns.

7. Conclude with an uplifting note. Every staff in his company wants to know that the future of the company is secure, hence so is his job. Even if you have to let some of them go, show them another better future.


How To Keep Your Mind Sane In The Face Of Financial Insanity?

October 13, 2008

Over these couple of weeks we keep hearing reports of people suffering from depression as a result of the world-wide financial turmoil. Indeed, there are such trying times where investors are caught off guard. The deep regrets and sense of loss over their depleted funds are indescribable.

In my recent personal coaching and consultations, there are several individuals who come to me as they have been experiencing this diabolical bout of depression and anxiety. They had difficulty geting over the loss of their hard-earned money.

Yet, no matter how bleak things may be. One must not lose their mind still. It’s the key thing you can depend on for now. This will hence demand from you a greater mental dexterity than before to tide over this uncertainty.

Do consider working on some of these ways to better enable a sane mind in the midst of these insane times:

1. Plan your day. Make it meaningful and live the day usefully.

2. Read from your favorite joke book. Better to take your mind into a world of joy than to go into the other extreme. Focus on the lighter side of life.

3. Meet your mentor. Have a talk with someone you respect and get some practical tips to handle crisis better.

4. Indulge in a new hobby. As you stay out of the market, why not take it as a time to do something you haven’t been getting down to? A new hobby will keep your life enriched.

5. Call a counseling hotline. Sharing with a stranger allows you to pour your hearts out. The trained counselor may just be the listening ear you need.

6. Work out your savings. Stay rational with your money management. You live to fight another day.

7. Meditate. Stay mentality calm. Peace out.


Are You Ready To Excel Beyond Excellence? 5 Facts About Sustaining Your Drive Towards Excellence

September 21, 2008

Excellence must be a long-term commitment. It’s not a live-for-the-moment or flash-in-the-pan idea.

Excellence must be a sincere willingness from you and emit from your heart.

Excellence seriously means a clear focus and may demand some sacrifice in other areas.

Excellence must be well supported by yourself and the people around you.

Excellence will drive other aspects of your life to be excellent as well, hence, creating a snow-ball effect.

Why Must You Manage Your Emotions Excellently?

September 15, 2008

Today’s training was on “Emotional Intelligence at Work” for the staff of a major ministry in Singapore. We had lots of fun and intense discussions on managing their emotions, both at work and in life.

Here are some reasons why you must truly manage your emotions and make it excellent:

1. It’s an ongoing survival issue. Your emotions provide you the means to react and change in varying situations.

2. It helps in your relationship building process.

3. It matters on your happiness.

4. It generates fulfillment in your life.

5. It creates unity amongst like minded people.

8 ‘C’ Steps To Overcome Crisis in Your Life

September 1, 2008

In life, we do face that occasional crisis. For some, they occur once in a long while and to others, it seems to be a regular happening. From the departure of loved ones to the onslaught of health matters or even a major financial disaster, one might find these too much to bear. But bear, endure and preserve you must.

You might ask why do they arise? It’s a question that its beyond our human mind and comprehension. The mysterious setting of situations and the triggering of events demand that you understand the bigger picture of how everything works in this life. It’s a question that most social scientists, philosophers and the likes have debated over the millennium.

During the private coaching and counseling sessions, I’ve worked with a number of individuals facing such crisis and more. Recently I’ve counseled a friend who felt lost in the challenges of living and barely surviving in the storms of life. We worked through intensively on the issues and the paradigms begin this. And I’m extremely pleased to report that this friend-client of mine is now on the way to a much better and empowered lifestyle.

What then can one do when a crisis dawns, here are the 8 C steps to help you overcome the crisis:

1. Calm your emotions

2. Clear your mind

3. Craft out a resolution plan

4. Customize it to the specific situation

5. Clean out the cause of the crisis

6. Create the emotion of enthusiasm in your endeavor, no matter what.

7. Carry out your plan

8. Continue to see the possibilities and the positives

The 15 Proven ‘S’ Ways Of Managing And Improving Your Work Relationships

August 31, 2008

So long as you work, you will forge relationships. And relationships have to be there or nothing gets done. Yet work relationships must be tactfully handled or it may run out of control. Negative relationships tend to escalate much faster than whatever is positive.

A significant amount of my training, coaching and counseling involve helping the business owners, executives and the individuals to better their relationships at their workplace. The quality of such relationships is an outstanding factor in determining one’s happiness at work. Hence, meticulous attention ought to be paid and ongoing efforts must be made in order to seek enhancement.

Here, in no particular order of importance, are 15 of the proven ways to manage and improve your relationships at work. (Incidentally, all of them begin with a ‘S’ so they are called the ‘S’ ways):

1. Seek clarification on duties and tasks.

2. Stop playing the blame game.

3. Share the responsibilities reasonably.

4. Strengthen your emotions.

5. Socialize productively with colleagues.

6. Smile often to others.

7. Start your day positively and motivated.

8. Simplify the complicated process.

9. Sort out issues, conflicts and differences as soon as you can.

10. Speak clearly and diplomatically to be understood.

11. Shut up and listen when necessary.

12. Self-evaluate your behavior through personal reflection times.

13. Sense the mood of others and the atmosphere to act sensitively.

14. Show appreciation to your bosses, colleagues and customers.

15. Strive for overall improvement always.

Whenever you implement any or more of these ‘S’ ways artfully, you are providing an opportunity for advancement of your work relationships. This will surely take you further, towards Excelling Beyond Excellence!

How You Can Step Up To Life’s Changes And Challenges

August 29, 2008

I was with the training group just two days ago, completing the final module for the 2.5 days “Step Up for Change” training. It’s a government initiated nation-wide empowerment training for women in Singapore, helping them to step out of the comfort zone, step up to challenges and step forward to meet life’s changes confidently.

What I dearly liked about the training was the interactively and the sharing of the female participants on issues faced by women in Singapore. Truly there are challenges waiting to be addressed. It hence became evident that the participants had recommitted to work and improve their lives better with the steps they had created.

And to follow on, here are more ways you can help yourself step up to life’s changes and face the challenges:

1. Be willing to change your paradigm.

2. Work on your confidence.

3. Be informed of changes.

4. Manage your finances and resources.

5. Enlist help and seek expert advice.

6. Make positive acquaintances and network.

7. Review your plans regularly for improvement.

I sincerely wish every one of the participants the very best in their lives and may they always Excel Beyond Excellence!