Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Be The Best YOU You Can Be

I was having a conversation today with good friend, Alan and we discussed the books we were reading. As I recently introduced to him the writings by Seth Godin, and Alan is a businessperson, I mentioned 'Purple Cows'. Purple Cows was a term coined by marketing-guru, Godin and he referred to uniqueness and outliers in business and industry. 

In other words, how do you stand out in your business or profession?

One national-leader once spoke of this approach: 'We must continue to reinvent ourselves in order to stay relevant.' I took these words seriously and have applied it to my vocation, advocation and recreation. Traditional thinking promotes traditional businesses. Contemporary thinking promotes current and future businesses. How do you run your business differently? How are you managing your career differently?

Pop-icon Madonna had a future-orientated mindset when she kept her brand simple, with her first (singular) name, plus an avalanche of revamps of her vampish looks. She adopted diverse roles including (the profitable) songwriter, choreographer (step up from a dancer), singer (a major shift), actress (a natural however challenging career shift), fashionista (read: fashionable, fashion-expert, fashion-authority), videographer, and much more. Lots of study, thinking, creative thinking, and reinvention took place. Thus, her wealth and fame still trails her trailblazer career even in her fourth decade of entertainment career.  

Purple cows are blended solutions. Purple is born of the colours blue and red. Which blends are you? How versatile are you? What else can you do? How do you stand out from the maddening crowd? Being different means having choices. Move from a follower to a leader. Break the rules. Make the rules. Define yourself. Refine yourself. Avoid grazing too long at a spot, for the grass must re-grow as the soil must regenerate. Have you explored 'the grass is greener on the other side'?

Leadership Lessons: How do you establish your own 'purple cow'? What are you doing to reinvent yourself? How do you stay relevant? How are you progressing from good to great? Deep questions with deeper answers. May you discover your 'uncommon sense'. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Measurements & Measuring Up To Your Excellence

Excellence. That is a word that tends to be used carelessly and callously. The word denotes an ability to 'excel', to do better, and progress.

To be excellent, you have to identify with something that you excel in. It may be a field of discipline where you demonstrate an aptitude for, or a natural ability in. It could also be an area of deep interest, study, research, and practice.

With the pursuit of excellence (pursuit seems to be a word that suggests a motivation towards), comes a need for measurement. How do you know that you making progress? How do you know that you are exceeding yourself in that field? How do you know that you are excelling? Being at the top of your game is merely a measure of results. After that, how do you stay at the top of your game? How do you maintain your position or ranking?

Annual ranking is one way, be it in sports or in employment. Ranking determines (from a panel of judges, or from relative measure as in benchmarking) your relative place in the universe. Based on the Olympic ideals of altius, fortius and citius - athletes are ranked according to their performance. They may have excelled to get into the finals of the Olympic Games, yet another measure of their actual performance is their placings on the podium, or near the three prestigious spots.

Before/After photographs are the pride and joy of clients who have reshaped their physical structures. Aesthetic improvements as well as athletic performance are dramatic shifts in one's persona, mindset and paradigms. Wanting to look their best, feel their best, perform at their best are strong motivators to continue in their pursuits. As long as their approach is sensible, reasonable and legal then excellence is never far from the grips and grasps of the eager, desiring and hungry.
In endurance, multi-sport, excellence may translate to working on one's weakness. Training to perform at a heightened state of physical and mental expression is measured through one's final timing, pacing (at regular intervals), split-times (at specific intervals), efficiencies (less wastage, delays, or hesitation), mindfulness, situational awareness, and more. Comparative measures on a monthly or annual basis, reveal data and information that can be applied to future performance, and thus, excellence. Pure timing might be reconsidered when the route/course changes, or weather becomes inclement, or when overall ranking shows progress, or when you beat certain competitors that you look to/look up to. [My results for the AHM/SBR shows a markedly slower 21km timing, yet my ranking improved. I must admit that this was my off-season, and my performance was not as strong as I was when I earned my second BQ timing in the Gold Coast Marathon in July 2013.]

Leadership Lessons: What does excellence mean to you? How do you activate your value of excellence? How do you demonstrate your sense of excellence in your profession and your pastimes? What drives you to excel? 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Update on Endurance Challenges

To wit, since early-August I completed Ironman 70.3 Philippines on Cebu Island. I scrapped through just under six hours with a nutritional malfunction. My lost bottle of fuel led me to digging deep, and learning abject lessons in the process.
I did reasonably well for the Army Half-Marathon/Singapore Bay Run. I was off my personal best by four minutes, yet considering my off-season/running-averse program I arrived within the top-1 percent. I learnt that to do a better BQ timing (for Boston Marathon 2016), and be near the 3-hour mark, I would need to consider an intensive (but still mileage-light) approach, with more strength and speed work.

Having skipped last weekend's Olympic Distance triathlon, due to illness, I may do the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 10km (Competitive). I am curious to see what is left in my tank after a period of forced rest.
Good news is that my major sponsor came through for me, and I have received generous support for Ironman Lanzarote 2015. I have also signed up for my first triathlon in Phuket, Thailand. I look forward to this race, and my new race attire. I wear my sponsors colours with pride and purpose. I am grateful for synergistic collaborations and partnerships.

The 5-Minute Challenge or the 30-Day Challenge

When was the last time you challenged yourself? It does not matter if it was big or small, gargantuan or miniscule.

I read with great delight, 30-day challenges for physical fitness. For instance, doing one push-up on Day 1, and adding one more for subsequent days. By Day 30, you would be doing 30 pushups; cumulatively, that is a great number of pushups altogether. You can substitute the exercise for another of choice or circumstance.

Or, you give yourself five (5) minutes, and challenge yourself to write as much as you (as I am doing now). You tease your brain to make mental connections, will your fingers to type as rapidly as your thoughts form, and edit at the same time. It is a good exercise that can urge you out of your 'box', whatever your 'box' is. It compels you to do something different; or at the least, something. Procrastination can be the thief of your time. Better to do something (even annoying or unattractive) than not to. 

Once, I wrote one blog a day for three continuous years. Thanks to marketing guru (of 'Purple Cows' and 'Tribes' fame) SETH GODIN, I am still on this blog. Many good and great things have emerge from this personal challenge and indirect challenge, and I intend to keep at it for as long as I am ready, able and willing.

Make New Excuses

It has been weeks since I posted on this platform*. I regret my tardiness and procrastination. No excuse on my part, however I felt I did not have much to share by way of usefulness. However, some thoughts crossed my mind. These are:

1) If you have to make excuses, make them count. Use them, and commit to them.
2) If you want to make excuses, make new ones. Make up new excuses nobody has thought of before. Be bold, be brave, be unique and conjure new excuses that astound others into a state of awestruck. [I learnt this from a quotation by author Neil Gaman.]
3) If you have no excuses, then stand up, take a walk, and do something useful.

If you are an overweight motivational speaker, you may want to consider point 3). As my close friend remarked: 'Walk the talk. Lead by example.' I am reminded by it, and I am motivated to do so. I am going for a walk now...

Movement is life. Live. Move. Move on...

*I have been overwhelmed by Internet marketers who have attempted to hijack various threads. I take that as a compliment. It is alright to ask me. Cheers.