Friday, May 1, 2009

Humility

Sorry for cross posting, it's one of the inspiring article which i come across and can't stop myself from sharing with all. Afterall, love is sharing! :) Enjoy!
The Most Beautiful Word in the English Language
By Bruna Martinuzzi

Many years ago, one of my university professors mentioned that "windowsill" was voted the most beautiful word in the English language. Being an armchair linguist, this factoid naturally stayed with me. Words have enormous power. They can make us erupt into laughter or bring tears to our eyes. They can influence, inspire, manipulate and shock. They can build and destroy. Some words have different effects on different people. One such word is humility. It is one of those words that are seldom in neutral gear. Some, like me, love the word and all it stands for. Some almost fear it and interpret it synonymously with lack of self-confidence or timidity.

The dictionary defines humility as modesty, lacking pretence, not believing that you are superior to others. An ancillary definition includes: "Having a lowly opinion of oneself, meekness". The word "humility" first struck me in the context of leadership when Jim Collins mentioned it in his seminal work Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't. In this book, Collins examined companies that went from good to great by sustaining 15-year cumulative stock returns at or below the general stock market, and after a transition point, cumulative returns at least three times the market over the next 15 years.

Among the many characteristics that distinguished these companies from others is that they all had a Level 5 leader. Level 5 leaders direct their ego away from themselves to the larger goal of leading their company to greatness. These leaders are a complex, paradoxical mix of intense professional will and extreme personal humility. They will create superb results but shun public adulation, and are never boastful. They are described as modest. An example of such a leader who epitomized humility is David Packard, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, who, in Jim Collins' words, defined himself as a HP man first and a CEO second. He was a man of the people, practicing management by walking around. Shunning all manner of publicity, Packard is quoted as saying: "You shouldn't gloat about anything you've done; you ought to keep going and find something better to do."

Another great leader is Patrick Daniel, CEO of North American energy and pipeline company Enbridge, who espouses two leadership attributes: determination to create results and humility, shifting the focus away from himself and continually recognizing the contributions of others. "I have learned through the lives of great leaders," he said, "that greatness comes from humility and being at times, self-effacing."

Clearly these leaders, and many others like them, don't espouse the meaning of humility as "meek". On the contrary, it is a source of their strength. But the notion of being self-effacing is one that we struggle with in our competitive culture, prescribing that we take every opportunity to toot our own horn, and that we don't dare leave the house without our dynamic elevator speech all rehearsed.

We often confuse humility with timidity. Humility is not clothing ourselves in an attitude of self-abasement or self-denigration. Humility is all about maintaining our pride about who we are, about our achievements, about our worth - but without arrogance - it is the antithesis of hubris, that excessive, arrogant pride which often leads to the derailment of some corporate heroes, as it does with the downfall of the tragic hero in Greek drama. It's about a quiet confidence without the need for a meretricious selling of our wares. It's about being content to let others discover the layers of our talents without having to boast about them. It's a lack of arrogance, not a lack of aggressiveness in the pursuit of achievement.

An interesting dichotomy is that, often, the higher people rise, the more they have accomplished, the higher the humility index. Those who achieve the most brag the least, and the more secure they are in themselves, the more humble they are. "True merit, like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes". (Edward Frederick Halifax). We have all come across people like that and feel admiration for them.

There is also an understated humility of every day people we work with who have the ability to get the job done without drawing attention to themselves. Witness the employee who is working at his computer into the late hours, purely motivated by a keen sense of duty, the executive assistant who stays after 5:30pm on a Friday night in an empty office to await a courier, or the manager who quietly cancels an important personal event to fly out of town to attend to the company's business. This is akin to the philanthropist who gives an anonymous donation.

Humility is also a meta-virtue. It crosses into an array of principles. For example, we can safely declare that there cannot be authenticity without humility. Why? Because, there is always a time in a leader's journey when one will be in a situation of not having all the answers. Admitting this and seeking others' input requires some humility.

Another mark of a leader who practices humility is his or her treatment of others. Such leaders treat everyone with respect regardless of position. Years ago, I came across this reference: the sign of a gentleman is how he treats those who can be of absolutely no use to him.

Something interesting happens, too, when we approach situations from a perspective of humility: it opens us up to possibilities, as we choose open-mindedness and curiosity over protecting our point of view. We spend more time in that wonderful space of the beginner's mind, willing to learn from what others have to offer. We move away from pushing into allowing, from insecure to secure, from seeking approval to seeking enlightenment. We forget about being perfect and we enjoy being in the moment.

Here are a few suggestions on practicing humility:

  1. There are times when swallowing one's pride is particularly difficult and any intentions of humility fly out the window, as we get engaged in a contest of perfection, each side seeking to look good. If you find yourself in such no-win situations, consider developing some strategies to ensure that the circumstances don't lead you to lose your grace. Try this sometimes: just stop talking and allow the other person to be in the limelight. There is something very liberating in this strategy.
  2. Here are three magical words that will produce more peace of mind than a week at an expensive retreat: "You are right."
  3. Catch yourself if you benignly slip into over preaching or coaching without permission - is zeal to impose your point of view overtaking discretion? Is your correction of others reflective of your own needs?
  4. Seek others' input on how you are showing up in your leadership path. Ask: "How am I doing?" It takes humility to ask such a question. And even more humility to consider the answer.
  5. Encourage the practice of humility in your company through your own example: every time you share credit for successes with others, you reinforce the ethos for your constituents. Consider mentoring or coaching emerging leaders on this key attribute of leadership.

There are many benefits to practicing humility, to being in a state of non-pretence: it improves relationships across all levels, it reduces anxiety, it encourages more openness and paradoxically, it enhances one's self-confidence. It opens a window to a higher self. For me, it replaces "windowsill" as the most beautiful word in the English language.

 

Copyright © 2006-2007 by Bruna Martinuzzi. All Rights Reserved.

Based in British Columbia, Bruna is the President and Founder of Clarion Enterprises Ltd, a company which specializes in emotional intelligence and leadership training. Visit her website at www.increaseyoureq.com.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Marine Highland Troon

 

I was stationed in Troon last weekend and stayed in 3 different hotels in 4 days due to the Easter Weekend where the tourists are out and hotels are overbooked.

The first hotel which i stayed is known as the Barcelo Troon Marine Hotel, one of the best hotel in Troon. It is situated next to a golf course and also just by the beach. The hotel is equipped with lots of facilities, gym, restaurant, saunas, swimming pool, bar etc..just like what a good hotel should provide ;p

  

The hotel has also breakfast served in the morning which is pleasant actually to start your day. The room is big and i think it can accommodate more than 4 people at a time. I didn't take the golf course but i have to admit that with such fine weather and nice flat green fields, no wonder everyone, at least most people play golf here!

Sweet!!

The Climb

I'm listening to this song, The Climb taken from Hannah Montana the Movie at the moment. Yeah I know I'm listening Miley Cyrus but its the lyrics that is very inspiring that I cant help myself but to share with you bout the climb that we faced everyday, metaphorically in our daily lives as how we struggle to climb the barrier and the hurdles that's in our way.

I can almost see it,

That dream that i have been dreaming about,

There's a voice inside my head you'll never reach it,

Every step I'm taking, Every move I make feels lost with no direction,

My faith is shaking but I got to keep trying

Got to keep my head held high

How often we end up in this similar situation, we dream of things that we want to do, and dream of dreams that is realistic and achievable and dreams that brings us higher but there's always that voice in our head, that silly voice that seems to tell us, wait another minute, wait another time, its alright everything can wait, you can do this, you can't do that. How many times have we ever felt misled, ever felt that every steps we took is without direction and also destination. Just to keep us getting out of bed and tremble as we grit our teeth and tell ourselves that we gotta try, we should keep trying and keep our head up  high.

There's going to be another mountain

I'm going to always want to make it move

Always going to make it an uphill battle

Sometimes I'm going to have to lose

Ain't bout how fast i get there

Ain't bout what's waiting on the other side

It's the climb

In life, there's always going to be one mountain after the other, and other than wishing to make it move, we just have to push ourselves to be brave enough to embrace our fear and climb it. I think that is one of the reason why I always like to scale the mountain during the toughest of season with heavy rain and end up getting drenched in the cold and have to muster all the strength in me just to climb every step to the top. There are also time when we have to learn how to give in, have to learn how to lose. Losing is not a bad thing actually. Its just like Liverpool going out on the Champions League due to Chelsea but not after giving a tough fight which ended up in a 8 goal thriller, one of the epic football match of the 08/09 season(yeeah rite??;p). The important thing is as long as you give your all, your best then if you have to accept the bitter sweet symphony of losing, so be it. Pick it up and keep moving on. It's just like how Jose Mourinho accept defeat when MU beat Inter Milan in the quarterfinal.

"The great thing about Jose is he can laugh at himself and he's able to separate what happens on the pitch and off it.

"He might lose a game but you can still have a conversation with him about anything and everything after it.

"It's important for managers to be able to communicate with each other and forget the game, no matter what the result," he added, in a comment probably intended to resonate in Liverpool and North London more than Milan.

So, it doesn't really matter how long it takes but the courage to embrace our fear, to face it and to climb the mountain that is in front of us.

The struggles I'm facing

The chances I'm taking

Sometimes might knock me down but

No I'm not breaking

I may not know it but these are the moments that

I'm going to remember most yeah

Just to keep going and I gotta be strong

Just keep pushing on cause

Lastly, there's a saying, stick and stones may break my bones but words will never will, so every problem presents itself with an opportunity. I remember my younger brother used to say, 'For every problem has a solution, and for every solution has a problem'. I like it in all adversity, he will still sticks to the optimistic side of him, to look at every challenges as an opportunity to move forward. Come to think of it, the satisfaction of taking calculated risks and sometimes going for a wild goose chase in every struggles that you face is very rewarding at the end. Of course if everything does not work out, take a deep breath and explore other options while hanging on the edge of  a cliff.

A piece of thought on this wonderful Sunday.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A weekend in Belfast

It was a rushing week, with full of meetings and reports to rush to. You know how it is, moving up and about to get things done, and even though it sounds scary, but nothing beats a good weekend! ;)

I had the chance of meeting a good friend of mine who now sort of resides in Belfast, at least that is what I think, and to which I support his future undertaking whichever it may be. I have the chance of meeting Savio, although he is now known as Dr. Savio, which I think I'm still not used to call him Dr just yet!! Haha! But anyway, he's a good, dedicated and shall I say industrious an ambitious doctor who work tirelessly and I think it's quite refreshing for both of us to get out of the office(for me) and the hospital for him to show me around the historic city of Belfast!

I left to Belfast from the John Lennon Airport, Liverpool. It was a Friday afternoon and the security was tight.  I think it is due to the fact that there was a shooting that happen during the week and the unrest between the unionist and the nationalist, the IRA etc. Nevertheless, I remembered the encounter with the customs officer.

'Where are you going son?"

"Belfast"

"Purpose?"

"Leisure!"

"Leisure??"

"Yeap, I'm going for St Paddy's day!!"

"St Paddy's day??" With a smile and suddenly all smiles, "Naa come on, you're celebrating St Patrick's day??"

"Yeap, Guinness and Shamrock, where else could I spend my weekend? ;p"

Such warmth and hospitality that I received not only that moment but my entire stay in Belfast! Arriving in Belfast International Airport, I boarded a bus and get a return ticket to the city. I was quite annoyed that I had to rely on my own, but I guess it was pretty straightforward and it's my fault that I didn't survey the place before I arrived! Nevertheless, there was nothing to worry about as the bus station to the place where Savio stay is within walking distance!! We stayed in the hospital! Well the hostel used to be a ward and its creepy for me at least, as such dark areas make the edge of my hair stand on its end! Nevertheless, I was made to attend the Malaysian Nite, organized by the Queen's University Belfast students during the Fri nite that I arrived. Although I was pretty much a visitor but I guess it was quite enjoyable to see a group of Malaysian after a period of time in a foreign land. I had my first ever Irish Stew, although its a delicacy to many, it was well...my first time trying it :)

 

The next day, we walked throughout Belfast town, and I think we managed to cover the whole town and try different varieties of food! Yeap, i think we ate a lot, lots of food. We walked and walked and walked and just to stop during lunch hour to watch the dreadful MU vs Liverpool match which I bled my heart out, watching the game from Kitchen Bar with lots of Liverpool supporters in it! Not forgetting that the Northern Irish have close ties with Liverpool thus the passion towards the YNWA team!

Then we went to Seafood bar for snack or maybe lunch or whichever you call it! I had fresh oyster which I miss so much having just like the one in Shogun, One Utama, with lots of Sashimi..yummy! I ordered crab caused I missed the crab dishes in Asia Cafe, Subang which is lovely! Well, can't wait to have these 2 meals once I get back to Malaysia! Firstly, the sashimi's and my crab seafood dish!

The Saturday night, I had the opportunity of joining the medical students for a birthday party in TGI's. Albeit the difference in profession among the medic students,I'm honored to enjoy their company and I guess we had fun too. Thanks to Siao Wen for being a hospitable host on the nite!

I wished I could stay longer in Belfast and take the bus to Dublin, Ireland but I guess that trip is for another time! I attended mass in the hospital and then a quick walk down to town area for Sunday breakfast. We went to St George's market and it's a market once of its kind.

The flight back to Liverpool was a full of mixed feelings as I know reality will have to step in as I prepare myself to work the next day!

 

Cheers!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Guilty

I feel terribly guilty for leaving my blog unattended. It's not that I have nothing to write or I got bored writing, but everyday I'm aching to pen my thoughts and also to start typing away. Its Good Friday today, and its still Blessed Lent. It's even April already and I'm typing this piece from the attic room(that is what I call it in this hotel where I'm at), in South Beach Hotel, Troon Scotland.

I don't think I have a valid reason or excuse why I didn't spend time writing my thoughts. Maybe it's out of anger or maybe I was just dissatisfied with stuffs. But anyway, the month of March is pretty busy to me both work and also weekends. I did have the opportunity to visit a friend of mine in Belfast, Northern Ireland and I know its long due but, thanks Savio for the hospitality! I did end up in Paris for a day for the JECI Composites show and there are so many composites stuffs to learn. And now I'm back in Prestwick, Scotland for my assignment, so its quite a handful I have and that won't be my excuse to not to write. I have lots of picture to post and that will be my motivation. Its a good weekend away from Bamber Bridge and hopefully its as fruitful as any other weekends!

Much has happen in March and beginning of April as well. We Malaysians have a new Prime Minister, for those who still don't know(duh!), and we just had our 3 by elections which see mix results as well. We even have a new line or so they say, cabinet ministers and all of us really really hope they will take their job seriously. Not forgetting that the UMNO election is over and thus the power transfer. We also have the verdict for the case of the Mongolian model with the accused (there are actually lots of publicity by the foreign media if you type it in Google) receiving their marching orders to the gallows! As for the other guy, he's pursuing his studies in PHD in one of the prestigious university in UK. Well, enough, let's step out of politics for a while, and see what will the changes be especially in this trying times, the current economic crunch which seems to affect everyone else in Europe and I'm not sure whether it will be just a matter of time before it hits the shores of Asia.

As for me, I have reached the middle of my sojourn here in the UK and as I'm about to return home, which won't happen till the end of June, I have lots in my plate and I always remind myself complacency is not an option or I will end up like MU giving precious away goals to Porto. I am definitely going to watch MU Vs Arsenal in May in Old Traffod again, and this time I hope we will win the Premier League, FA Cup and also Champions League by then! Impossible? We'll see.

I have also just submitted my form for the Troon 10k Race!! I know I'm crazy for doing so and I still think I am! I did try to run along the beach and I didn't even make it to 2 km on a breezing evening with winds that can blow you away! I don't know how am I going to fare during the race which is bound to happen in 3 weeks time but I'm definitely going to give it a try! I already got my running number, which is 969! Nice one!

Before I start to bore you to death on this lovely weekend. I shall end my piece with a Blessed Easter blessings to all. Rejoice, be happy, be merry and channel all your negative energy to something positive k!!

Cheers!

Monday, March 16, 2009

I just love Edinburgh

Awrite! Guid mornin! Hou's aw wi ye? (Hi! Good morning! How are you?)

A'm fine, slainte! (I'm fine, thanks!)

I just love Edinburgh!

Edinburgh is beautiful, gorgeous and lovely. The minute you set your eyes on the city, you can't help but go ooh..ahh...ooh..ahh... No wonder those who get to be here for secondment or even their studies just love the place very much. The Scottish accent, peculiar to some but common to many or vice versa  seemed very fascinating in its own way. It sounds foreign at first, with me experiencing a 5 seconds laps when I first met a few Scots but gradually I like the language a lot. Maybe its unique history and culture, its just splendid!

D'ye spaek Scotts? (Do you speak Scots?)

Juist a wee. (Just a little).

I just came back from Edinburgh 2 weeks ago and I wished I could stay longer and just capture all the images in my head. The medieval buildings are just mesmerizing with vast history, will surely captivates anyone that visit the city of culture even if its for a day!

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I wished I had my own DSLR sooner and can just click away. Most European cities seemed easy to walk about and so is Edinburgh with lots of souvenirs shops to go. A word of caution to the ladies and the active shoppers, bring lots of money! Anyway, if you're thinking of saving some, its almost impossible not because its expensive, but its so reasonable that you don't mind taking and picking the souvenirs off the shelves! Not forgetting the common notion of "Ah..I'm only here once in my lifetime, what the heck".  But I think its pretty worth it though (here I go again!). The kilts, Scottish gems(ooh..) and all other Scottish merchandise its awesome. Even their famous bagpipe band, the Red Hot Chili Pipers, they're marvelous! For whisky lovers, Scotland is the land of single malts and whisky, the Water of Life they call it. Funnily, I didn't got myself a a single malt here even though I should. I think I'm guilty as charged in spending already. Don't lah ask me how much I spend, paiseh ;p

We spend one whole day in Edinburgh, although we very much like to go to Sterling Castle and other places nearby, but its a worth outing. The weather is chilly and windy, not as cold as when I first got here. I might have acclimatize myself to the weather already and thankfully there was no rain for us to walk and paint the city red!

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The Castle Of Edinburgh should be the place to start your j0urney. From here, you get to pass through lots of medieval, historic buildings with souvenir shops nearby. Again, ladies and gents, lo and behold, the land of culture, with ancient and vast history, with great tradition such as William Wallace who made Scotland what it is now, and years to come! Just go and walk through the city, helpful tourist guides along the way will be on site to assist you and enrich you with information regarding the tourist sites as well. The University of Edinburgh looks majestic with its main building situated in the city centre itself, and food its not much of a hassle as you can get different varieties of food everywhere, from middle east to oriental to Mediterranean and western food.

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Ah..i'm sorry for the long absence, i think its pretty long for not writing and least that is what i feel and my hand is just so itchy to start typing along. No worries people, i have lots of pictures and also trips to share with you. I am back in the cyberworld with 3 Broadband kit which i just bought and what the heck, i could not wait until the end of the month for Sky to install their broadband in my apartment.

We stayed in Troon during our trip to Scotland. The next day on Sunday, we took the opportunity to visit Glasgow as well, very much an industrialized city and used to be one of the largest city in Europe, and it was snowing and raining on the day itself. It was freezing cold, with hails but its a worth outing as we walk and walk and walk throughout Glasgow and then headed back to Preston, leaving Scotland behind.

A'll be reit back! (I'll be back soon), I promise!

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Guzzy ID