Thursday, July 2, 2009

Become your best

In a world of scarce resources, high technology, instant communications, rapid changes and exploding population, it requires skillful personal management and development to survive. We are all participants in a period of human history where changes abound, thereby creating anxiety and confusion in their wake. A lot of people want to better themselves but some do not know how to go about it and get started in their pursuit of personal management and development. These are the people I would like to reach out and help.

My personal interest, research and practice of this subject have led me to read numerous books and articles on the field of personal management and development. I have attended seminars, workshops and discussion groups on self-actualization. I do not consider myself by any means an expert on the art of living. I am only a very keen and self-motivated student in this field. The more I learn and the more I practise the principles of personal management and development, I deepen my understanding, expand my experience and enhance my enjoyment of life.

I have tried to condense and to simplify the ideas, and to make the subject easy to understand. My book, Become Your Best, is a collation and synthesis of what I consider to be among the best practical and worthwhile ideas in this fascinating subject. By drawing together a wide range of useful information and suggestions, this book will make you become more aware of yourself and the potential that is unique to you.

If you own a beautiful house, you will be cleaning and maintaining it on a regular basis to maintain or enhance its value. What is your body, mind and spirit worth to you? What is your life worth to you? Well most people will say it is priceless. Yet, few of us devote the time and energy necessary to take care of, to manage and to develop our greatest asset: OURSELVES! With this in mind, I have planned this book to be a practical source of information and reference that you could use to correct this imbalance. I hope that students of this fascinating field who are earnestly searching for guidance would find this book a good stepping stone on their way to become their best.

If you really want to change your life for the better, you must have a clear vision of what you want to become and be committed to act on it. Self-improvement begins with having a positive attitude, a healthy self-esteem and an open mind. You must learn to be receptive to what is being said without abiding by it all. You should not readily accept what you read in this book as being applicable to you and your situation. You should ask yourself if my statements harmonize with common sense and your experience. This book has been written as an introduction to numerous principles and natural laws that can be very useful to you. You should try out the principles of personal management and development for yourself. You need to experience and to prove to yourself that you can live an abundant and fulfilling life by practising what is presented in this book. You must be totally committed to put in a lot of effort while not expecting miracles overnight. Having evaluated everything said, put into practice what you believe will be helpful to you in your quest for a more wholesome life. Choose what works for you. The inner conviction and security, which comes from having proved to your own satisfaction that some of these principles are effective will give you the foundation upon which you will begin to explore and experiment further.

This book is written as a guidance for people on the road to self-discovery. For some of you, this book can be a possible beginning, and for others a stepping-stone to your personal management and development. It will give you an opportunity to explore human capacities and potentials which are often not addressed in conventional education. You have the most to win by developing your potential to the fullest and by bringing out the best you. Your No. 1 job is to build a better you. You will not only adopt the right approach for the real world, but you will also learn to:

- Seek and find your purpose in life
- Set and reach new achievement targets
- Enhance your self-image and self-esteem
- Become totally self-confident
- Overcome your communications barriers
- Improve your personal relationships
- Gain financial independence
- Develop your leadership skills
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle
- Handle stressful situations

For more details of my books and seminars, check out my website:

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Putting People First


A Personal Approach to Management and Leadership

Globalization has produced a climate that has made people, goods and services more accessible. This climate of mobility and interdependence has increased competition, in particular, for those employees who have demonstrated their effectiveness, their talents and managerial competencies. Businesses and organizations are increasingly forced to adapt quickly to the rapid pace and scope of change driven by the new knowledge-based economy. Their success depends on the ability of their leaders, managers, supervisors and employees to respond to the challenges of today’s rapidly changing and interdependent environment.

Corporate executives and leaders are in search of the ultimate answer — the one solution that will resolve all of their problems and make them the best managers — Why? Ultimately they want to manage their organization much more effectively, and have the highest rate of success; in short they want a win/win situation that will not only put their company on top but will also lead them down the path to promotion and success. The endless pursuit to find a successful recipe for everyone simply points to the reality that it doesn’t exist. It takes a different solution for each environment, for each personality and for each problem. There is simply no one solution to fit everyone’s needs. Managers and leaders have to create their personal style of management and leadership by knowing themselves, their employees and their customers. In addition, they have to put into practice some of the key principles and strategies that are the essential ingredients for success.

The most valuable investment for businesses and organizations is their people. Every organization owes its prosperity and success to its human resources — to the talent, tenacity, and spirit of its employees, managers and leaders. The heart of any organization is the people who work within it. People cultivate relationships with customers. People make or break great organizations. Today, people problems represent one of the greatest challenges to management. Leadership and management concepts are meaningless without an understanding of people — their aspirations, needs and motivations. The management and leadership principle that is most successful puts people first. Although efficient processes and planning definitely help to achieve goals and objectives, people are the most important resources in order to produce desired results. Successful organizations and their leaders understand that the vitality and satisfaction of their employees is directly related to the buoyancy of their performance and productivity.

General Colin Powell said it best when he wrote: “Organizations doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavours succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.” How people are treated on the job does matter? Employees have repeatedly identified that the quality of their human interactions with their supervisors and co-workers is the most important ingredient to good, healthy working conditions.

Successful organizations and companies therefore ensure that not only the most competent and talented people are hired but also once hired; they are valued and respected for their contribution and input to the common good. Although the management of materiel, finances and information is crucial, focusing on people is the most important part for the sustainable success of any organization.The more you view your employees as human beings and understand the importance of their needs, the more effective you are as a manager and leader. Putting people first is in increasing danger of becoming a slogan that is over stated and under implemented. The rhetoric of “putting people first” isn’t good enough; management’s practices have to reflect this sincere intention through its actions and examples. People feel pressured to meet higher demands and objectives in all realms of work, family and lifestyle. Managers and leaders need to take into account the technological and bureaucratic complexity that pervades work and today's workload.

As a manager and leader, it is up to you to develop to develop the potential of your employees so that they perform at their best. You also need to know how to balance your family life and your work, as well as helping your employees to do the same. One of the greatest gifts that you possess is your innate ability to interact with other people. Have a passion to learn about the human side of management and leadership. Become an agent of change and share your passion!

It isn’t easy to be a supervisor, manager or team leader. You have to come up with ways and means to motivate your staff, keep your boss happy and get the tasks at hand completed. You have to coordinate the activities of your employees to achieve maximum performance and quality results, without overloading them. You need to motivate your employees to ensure that the job gets done effectively, while at the same time promoting a healthy work/life balance for them. You have to develop the confidence of your staff, both in their own abilities and in their opinion of you. Through open communication, you have to be transparent with your staff, your peers, your clients and your direct supervisor with regard to your working style and approach. You have to be a leader of change and initiate new and more effective ways of doing business. The importance of effective leadership is now more pressing than ever.

Today you can’t depend on the command and control style of management to get things done. Rather than controlling and monitoring, invest more in creating opportunities and a motivational environment in which your employees can excel and can perform good work. The new reporting relationship must be based on respect, trust, teamwork, reason and competence rather than on hierarchy, authority and power. As managers and leaders, you need interpersonal mastery to supervise and manage people, and to get your employees to support you willingly. Some of the most important management skills you need are communicating, planning, organizing, delegating, empowering and problem solving skills.

You need to treat people with respect and encourage them to perform, and to deliver excellent products and services. So as a manager and leader, you better have a genuine desire to work with your employees, to help them succeed by supporting them, listening to them and encouraging them. Employees are much more aware and involved nowadays. They want more participation, more collaboration, and have an ardent desire to be involved in some of the decision making processes, especially when the decisions will affect them and their working environment. Most importantly, employees want a healthy balance between the demands of work and life outside the work place. They want much more job satisfaction and less stress due to excessive workload.You have to understand that no one can change everything at once. You need to accept your work environment as it is, and your co-workers and employees as they are. In the very short term, you don’t have a choice. Of course, you should work at improving the situation, but it can’t be changed overnight in one big sweep.

To become an effective manager and leader demands discipline, focus, good judgment, and perhaps most importantly a willingness to individualize your management and leadership style to every employee reporting directly to you. You need to equip yourself with tools and strategies to meet the new challenges and to continue your learning process. You need to sharpen and master the people skills that you require to become more effective at your workplace. By using the principles of management and leadership, you benefit from the rewards of teamwork, and find ways to achieve your organizational objectives even in the face of adversity and constant change. You perform consistently at much higher levels, and you experience greater satisfaction and meaning from what you do. You become an effective catalyst for the development of your team and your organization. By putting people first, you become a more capable and effective manager and leader.

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Living on purpose


Some of us think of our purpose in life at some point during our lifetime. Were we born for a purpose? What should we make of the rest of our life? Do we have an ongoing direction to follow which gives a sense of meaning to our life? What does our life mean? If you are asking these questions, you have embarked on the longest journey you have ever taken - the journey to find yourself. Many wise men and women have attempted to share their thoughts and beliefs on the meaning of life. Our souls are hungry for meaning. We want to live purposefully so that our sphere of influence will be at least a little bit better for our having passed through it. Most of us want to live so that our lives will mean something more than a brief flash of biological existence soon to disappear forever. We want to believe that we were born for something and that we are here to make a contribution.

With the increasing demands made on us by ourselves and our environment, we tend to become so wrapped up in our different roles, responsibilities, labels and names that we don't make time to find out who we really are and what is our purpose.It is good to examine our life, its meaning and purpose. I believe one will never know for certain one's true and real purpose in life and the meaning of one's existence on earth even if one analyzes oneself to death. The most we can expect is to be able to find some of the pieces of the puzzle which is the mystery of life. A purpose is an ongoing aspiration which gives meaning, direction, definition and fulfillment to our lives. What we are really living for could be simply to become the best we can in our journey through life. Each one of us brings our own meaning to the experience of life. Some people have great aspirations based on their values, principles and beliefs. They want to find fulfillment and happiness, to bring peace and harmony, to help others and to save the environment. Others want to convert people to their religion or to be of service to others. Yet others want to have wealth, power and fame by influencing and leading people, companies or even countries. There are many people whose purpose in life is the pursuit of success in its many forms: by climbing the social ladder; material wealth; business, professional or artistic accomplishments; good health; fulfilling relationships or by helping others. As an individual, you should seek within yourself what you think your primary purpose should be in your lifetime. You should know precisely what your major aim in life is. Your purpose in life may simply be to discover and experience the real you. Only you can answer how you want to live and who you want to become. Your values and beliefs establish your sense of purpose and influence the important choices you make about how to live your life.

Most of us follow the prevalent values and beliefs of our family, society, community, and environment without assessing and clarifying our own. Chances are you don't consciously think about your own values and beliefs. To get in touch with what matters most to you, I suggest you try the following exercise. You may want to add some supplementary questions that are meaningful to you.

To get in touch with what matters most to you, take time to consider these questions:
What are the most important things in your life?What are your greatest strengths?What are your best qualities?What are the activities you enjoy most?What are the values you cherish the most?What are your dreams for the future?For each of the questions above, go through your list of answers to identify the top five.Now let your imagination create your dream life. What are the prominent values reflected in it? Imagine that you have a magic wand that will allow you to do any thing you want, what would you choose to do? What could you do for the rest of your life that would encompass most of the above?

These questions and mental exercises are very useful in focusing on what matters most to you. Dedicate yourself to the process of finding out who you are, what you want in life, and act on it. This introspection is the most important step toward self-actualization. Like many successful and effective people you probably aspire to live a fulfilled, happy and purposeful life. You may want to share your talents, knowledge and time with others in order to make the world a better place for all to enjoy. The search for your very own purpose should be based on the premise that you love and respect yourself and others and that you aspire to do something worthwhile, to make this world a better place.

Imagine you are going for a two week holiday in a new place you have never been. You certainly have a good idea of the purpose of your vacation. You will probably gather as much information about this place and read the material well in advance. You will get road maps, plan your routes and places of interest to visit, make a list of things to bring so as not to be caught unprepared. You probably have a very good idea what you want to do when you get there. However, if things are not as you expected you make the necessary changes and arrangements to make your holidays as pleasant as possible. A lot of people put more thought in planning a two week vacation than in planning their life journey. In fact most of us proceed through our lives without a map, destination and purpose. It is no wonder that so many people get lost, wonder where they are heading and complain about their lack of achievement in life. This does not make any sense because we all can develop our unique life plan to make it as fulfilling and as enjoyable as possible.

My purpose in life is highly influenced by both my parents' values and principles but like yours it is unique and tailor-made by me. Each of us has our own destiny to fulfill. My father's first and foremost consideration was for his family. He was a shopkeeper and worked very hard and long hours for the benefit of the family. In his particular situation, he strongly believed in his sacrifice for his family's wellbeing and education. I happen to believe that one should consider oneself first. One should learn to love and respect oneself before one can share the experience with others. I believe in living the days gifted to me gratefully with purpose, a positive attitude and healthy self-esteem.My ultimate purpose in life is to become my best by fulfilling my potential. I realize that the extent of one's full potential is never absolutely known and is not something that one can measure.

In an attempt to reach our potential we have to be aware of the issues that are important to us, our priorities and values. We have to be careful not to put unnecessary pressure and stress on ourselves by constantly striving and going all-out to become our best. We are not measuring ourselves against any standard or comparing ourselves with others. Becoming my best means to be willing to explore all avenues to improve myself, to love and to be loved, to learn and to teach, to give and to receive, to understand and to be understood. The study of the principles of personal management and development and my writing about them give me a great feeling of accomplishment, fulfillment and purpose.We all have a choice in what we create and visualize in our minds. One of my primary purposes in life is to help my fellow human beings to make wiser choices and to experience the pleasures of life through understanding and practising the principles of personal management and development. Once I realized what I really wanted to do, I simply got started. I learned as much as I could about the subject, expanding my knowledge and understanding. It's amazing how results materialize when you know what you want and focus your energy and determination to achieve it.

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Take Charge of Yourself


You are a very special person. In all the history of mankind there was never anyone else exactly like you, and in all the infinity of time to come, there will never be another you. Do you realize that you were born a winner? Yes you were, you had to win the sperm race to form your first cell in your mother's womb. You beat millions of other sperms to reach the egg because you were so eager to be born and to live. You did not decide to be born nor did you choose your parents, your origin or your cultural heritage. When you were a baby you were totally dependent on your parents. As you grew up you became more capable of thinking and of making choices based on your understanding, knowledge, beliefs and values. You have become who you are today according to your choices and decisions you made in the past. Even if your circumstances did not give you the best start in life, you have the power to make changes, to have realistic goals, to adopt a positive attitude and to set your life on a better course. You need to take personal responsibility for getting what you want in life and stop blaming others for your problems and failures. Through the power of your mind and personal effort, you can direct your journey in this life to be both fulfilling and purposeful.

Unlike animals, you were not born to merely survive physically as long as possible. You were born to strive for a form of successful and meaningful living as a human being. In most situations, you must make do with what you've got. There is simply no way that you can expect perfect conditions and control everything. Although there are many events and circumstances that are beyond your control, you need to acknowledge that you can choose how you respond to them. You decide whether the situation is a terrible problem or an opportunity to learn and grow. You can either choose your highest hopes, dreams and goals or you can settle for whatever life and circumstances deal you. The process of taking charge of your life is accompanied by self-awareness, self-confidence and a sense of purpose.

It is your life and you make your own path through it. Be assertive, choose the way you want to live it, how you want to enjoy it, what you like to do and how you do it. You need to take good care of yourself before you can take care of others. It is your responsibility to make yourself as loving, healthy, knowledgeable and understanding an individual as possible. You determine what personal success and achievement mean to you. It is a tough assignment to be responsible for the quality of your life. Taking charge of yourself involves more than practising assertiveness, trying different ideas and being responsible for your actions. You need to have a clear picture of what you want and act upon it with constancy of purpose. To be master of your destiny, you have to be willing to accept the tough assignments and responsibilities of: believing that you have the power to change your life, being determined and committed to make the necessary effort, making choices as you chart your own destiny each day, helping yourself to enhance all aspects of your life, maintaining a positive mental attitude when facing setbacks, and challenging every thought that inhibits your growth and happiness.

Just being aware of these possibilities and believing they can work for you is a great start. Nothing remains static in this world. If you do not get better, you will probably get worse. It is much better to manage change skillfully than to just let life slip by you. Taking charge of your life improves your chances of getting what you want out of life and achieving your goals. You can deal more effectively with life's problems once you understand the dynamic nature of your existence and your purpose in life.

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