WE CAN ALL INSPIRE SOMEONE, EVERY TIME

Let me ask you 3 questions:

  • When was a time when someone said to you that they were so blessed to have met you?
  • When was a time when someone told you how appreciated they were for something you did for them?
  • And when was time someone came to you for an advice that changed their life?

Please take a few seconds to think of these…………….

  • Can you recall any of these moments?
  • Why do you think they respond in this way to you?
  • How did all these make you feel?

I’m sure you have had these moments. You see, many of us have been and are still an inspiration to some people in our lives.

So to be an inspiration to people is really not just a tall order, not impossible, not meant only for the giants of mankind like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa or even Tun Dr Mahathir.  Indeed, we don’t need to make national headlines to be an inspiration to others. Many times, the most inspiring people in the world go unnoticed.

You see, they don’t do it for others to see, but really it’s for God to see.

I’m sure that you too have done many good things for people but they are unnoticed. So really who cares, for it’s for God to see.

There are 4 common qualities that I find in most people who inspire others:

  • Selflessness (not selfishness),
  • Generosity (not stinginess),
  • Courage (not cowardice),
  • Guided by a purposeful sense of service (not disservice).

So anyone with these 4 qualities are an inspiration to people.  A teacher who teaches well is an inspiration to his students.  A waiter who serves well is an inspiration to his customers.  A manager who grows his people well is an inspiration to his people.  And the list goes on.

There are very precious benefits that come to people who inspire others.

They fondly remembered us at the end of our lives. They get blessings, even luck when they give. Finally, there is happiness & fulfilment that comes with it too.

In my work with leaders, we often explore ways how they can make a difference and be more inspirational to their people. These 5 ways keep coming back as the ones that will make them more inspirational:

  • Stand for something
  • Act with passion
  • Show care and kindness
  • Demonstrate integrity
  • Listen more, talk less, and be a coach

Life is indeed too short for us to waste our time doing ordinary things. The Dalai Lama once said, we have no control of the past and the future; the only one we have control of is the Present.

So there’s no point sulking over our mistakes too much. There’s no point getting angry with someone because nothing is going to change.  And no point too getting stressed about something that hasn’t happen. Nothing is going to change.

So let’s use our time in the present moment to make the ordinary things we do, extraordinary. Let us lead a Life with a Purpose. It will make us special. It gives us the passion to do things with excellence.

At the end of life, we want to leave behind fond sweet memories of ourselves to others.  We want to leave our legacy. Our foot prints too.

Adios but Not Goodbye, Jee Kor Ma!

My 6 brothers and sisters called our late aunt, Jee Kor, or Second Aunty but we have always regarded her as ‘Jee Kor Ma’ or in English – ‘Motherly Aunt’. 

She was Jee Kor Ma or ‘Motherly Aunt’ to us because she was truly a mum to us who always treated us like her own children, very similar to her own very loving 5 children: Ah Kwang, Ah Ghim, Niramon, Jenny and Bunny.

For all the years in her long life, she consistently showered us this motherly love, although we were far separated by distance (we in Malaysia, and she in Thailand) and time as we could only get to meet once a while and that time was brief and short as we had duties back home to attend to.

All of us were always so very touched each time we get to meet her again. Her happiness in seeing us again was so extraordinary, very much like the biblical story of Mother Mary’s joy after finding her missing son, Jesus, in the temple.

During this brief time with her, she would drown us with her generous love – her gentle touch, her kind words and her curious questions about us, not forgetting the plentiful delicious Thai goodies she would stuffed into our bags for us to take home, as she was so afraid that we would go hungry without enough to eat.

Jee Kor Ma’s story of love for us is very much seen in her own family as well – very, very admirable for the selfless ways and sacrifices she made to bring up her 4 children at all costs, overcoming the suffering poverty that was inflicted on her when she came to Thailand from China some 80 years ago.

Today her children are very happy and successful people because of her.  It is because they get to follow her footsteps. They take on her values and qualities. Even her loving grandchildren and great grand children are showing much of her great traits. What a blessing!

While we are so sad to lose her, we are also very much at peace for we know she is now in heaven, a better place, a happier place with Jesus, and all her brothers and sisters as well those who had all gone before her.

She was the last Heah clan of her generation on earth, but now reunited with all of them again in Heaven.

So we will only say adios to you, Jee Kor Ma, but not good bye, for we will be united with you one day when God says it’s time too.

Till then, May the Lord Jesus always protect you and Rest in Eternal Peace, Jee Kor Ma, until we meet again!

Learning To Walk Again

Certain moments in our lives are very defining. They have the potential of making us take a hard look at our lives. My ‘certain moment’ was the time during my hip problem, the surgery that followed and the painful recovery time that I am still undergoing.   

I call this article ‘learning to walk again’ because it’s about this particular chapter of my life that has taught me never to take things for granted any more.   

You see, walking, running, jumping were activities  I took for granted. I never consciously attribute them as God’s gift for me. Never was I grateful that I was so mobile where in ‘happier times’ I could do so much – jogging for stretches, climbing up the hills around my area, playing football and basketball in the mud and rain, and so on.

Then unexpectedly, this very thing I took for granted became the very thing that was taken away from me. My mobility was severely hampered during the late stages of my hip pains. I couldn’t move a fraction of what I could do previously. It took another beating during the surgery and the recovery period that reduced me to a child who couldn’t walk to learning to walk again – in baby steps with a walker and now a walking stick. 


At this time now, every step I make is precious, an achievement.  I am now so very thankful to the One up there for giving me a second chance. I feel so thankful too to Angeline’s loving tender care during this whole episode.  I’m also thankful to well wishes from my friends, their gifts, their visits and their prayers. 

Adding them up together, they all are helping me to walk well again. 

Thank You!

Wedding Speech: Speaking From Our Hearts

 A very good evening to all.

In my profession, I make a lot of speeches to all kinds of audiences, but never yet to an audience of this demographics.  In our social lives together, we have heard many, many wedding speeches, but have never made one ourselves.  And in our very small family unit, I have not done one yet, till today.

So under such circumstances, this is my maiden wedding speech today.  (Honestly, I had to be coached by my dear wife on what to say, how to say and how long it should be).

So let me begin by saying to our loving son, Hil, and our first daughter in law, Dan, that we are overjoyed with their new marital status as lifetime husband and wife.

Your wedding ceremony today was most touching and romantic, like the love story of Romeo and Juliet, tho’ not in Verona, Italy but in this beautiful Yarra Valley in Melbourne.

It shows your good taste, creativity and resourcefulness in making this a most memorable occasion for us.  It was exceptionally well organized and artfully choreographed, fitting of a bestselling love movie.  How I wish I can watch this once again on Netflix.

Now, to this very close group of guests, I won’t want to bore you with stuff that you already know about both of them; simply because you wouldn’t be here today if you hadn’t known them, not just well, but very well.

Everyone here, family members included, were subjected to a very strict selection criterion: “How really close are you to both of them”?   It really showed how much they want to have the closest people in their lives on their wedding day.

So based on this: few were chosen, many were axed.   Among the axed ones are all uncles and aunties, cousins, nephews and parents’ good friends from both the divide.

You will know what I mean if you care to look around you.  You will see only a small handful of grey hair people here.  But if you can’t notice this, it’s because most of us had our hair dyed or set for this occasion.   But you can still see them by their winkles which can’t be taken away.

Notwithstanding this, It is certainly a very refreshing, vibrant and rejuvenating time for us, to be in the company of the young generation here who are 1/2,  or more than 1/2 our age.

This is indeed is a New Age Wedding. The rules are different. Parents are required to play by their rules.  In return, we need not give nor do anything  (except giving this speech).  A good trade off indeed!

In hierarchical terms, there are only 2 bosses here today, namely, Hil and Dan. They are the only C suite guys.  No others.  Everyone else is equal, a kind of autocratic Communist system like in the words of George Orwell in his book ‘Animal Farm’ where he says that in this farm ‘all are equal, except some are more equal than others’.

This New Age wedding is fundamentally different from traditional ones as they are usually more populated by guests from their parents’ side.  (Frankly speaking in many of such weddings, we aren’t sure whether the parents are remarrying, or their children are marrying!).  This is the state of affairs because parents are the ones who foot the bulk of the bills.  So, they (instead of their marrying children) are the bosses mostly.

But for this one, it’s the reverse.  The wedded couple’s guests totally nudge out their parents’ guests!  Why, because they foot all the bills. So they are the bosses, we are the guests, (or subordinates) who obediently follow their instructions.  We just have to say, ‘Aye boss, anything you say!

(Now with jokes aside), we truly admire them for being completely 100% hands on in managing this very important and major project.  This 2-person team make up the frontline and back office people.

They handle everything: from wedding concept, the planning, the financing, the fine execution from guests’ selection, logistics, accommodation, ceremony, getting the kind service of Fr Michael, the priest, the mass service, meals, entertainment, including the walking down the aisle, writing their marriage vows, exchanging of rings to finally becoming husband and wife.   Truly, this says a lot about their attributes and capabilities.

Hats off to them!

There’s a saying that when choosing your lifetime partner, it’s advisable to look at the other partner’s mother for an answer.  (I don’t know why not the father!).

Dan, your love for Hil for what he is, is because of one very important person in his life, Angeline – his mum or your mum-in-law now.  She has given you a complete package.  A complete replica of her in him. 

You have to always be grateful for this, forever.

Her outlook, her values, her discipline, her generous love, overflowing kindness, tender care, great humility, no nonsense ways, high sense of responsibility, a pile of secret food recipes, impeccable tidiness and cleanliness, strong faith in God, are some of the precious pieces of gold in the treasure trove she’s passing over to you.

And it’s for you both thereon, to pass them to your children and the future generation to come.

As you know, Angeline’s words are few. She’s good only in the doing.  So I’m saying all this for her on this occasion as there’s no better place, no better moment than this moment.  Angeline, my dearest wife, mum and mum-in-law deserves this tribute on this very, very special occasion.

Frankly, Hil is not the only beneficiary of her love.  Jeremy too.  And me is perhaps the biggest beneficiary of them all for we have been together, officially for 31 years, (and unofficially for 41 years).

My oversized figure says a lot about the feeding and babysitting I have been getting from her all these years.  Thank you, my dear sweetheart!

It’s time for me to end here, wishing Hil and Dan the very best in their lives together.

While this marriage is going to be a very beautiful journey, be mindful of the long and winding road ahead as well.  But certainly nothing can shake your marriage an inch as long as both of you are strengthened by true love for each other, grounded on good life values, display of gratitude for your parents (and the good people in your life), and most of all, having strong faith in God.

Thank you for listening to my maiden wedding speech.   And to all here (and not here), May God bless all of you.

Let’s enjoy the lovely time together!

 

COACH MOVER – HOW TO STAY ON

Excerpts of my Keynote Address at the 12th Coach Convocation, Awards & Network 2017

The topic on Coach Movers’ and ‘Coach Forgetters’ is always close to my heart.  It has a lot to do with the sustainability of coaches in the coaching profession.

I spoke on this at the last convocation, and because of its huge importance, I intend to speak and build on it again on this grand occasion as well.

‘Coach Movers’ is a phase that I coined to describe those coaches who make things happen; they are successful in moving on and on to become even more successful and fulfilled professional coaches; who can live their dreams, can fulfill their passion and can contribute to a happier world!

On the other hand, ‘Coach Forgetters’ are the ones who wait for things to happen; obviously it does not normally happen through such ‘remote control’ ways.  Due to this, they experience disappointment as they have few or no opportunities that are needed to fuel their dreams, passion and life mission for a long time.  Because of this, they soon have to abandon and forget their dreams, passions and mission to stay on as coaches, for which they have spent so much time, money and great effort on.   This is sad for this was the very reason they became coaches in the first place.

It is my sincere hope that all of you here will remain as ‘Coach Movers’ all your lives; with none as ‘Coach Forgetters’ at all. You are built to last!

So today, I like to share a couple of tips (and coaching questions) that might help you to rise to the occasion to remain strong ‘Coach Movers’ always.  They have the caliber to weather through the good and not so good times to remain steadfast as successful and fulfilled coaches for a long time to come.

The first and the most important tip of it all is for you coaches to build and sharpen your ‘marketing mind’ (instead of just developing your ‘product mind’).

By having a marketing mind means becoming ‘ hunters’ who dare and want to go out into the jungles of the unknown marketplace to find their hunt (or opportunities) instead of staying under the shade of the cool and comfortable ‘coconut tree’, waiting for the fruits to fall which might not happen at all.

This staying under the cool shade of the coconut tree means becoming addicted to their comfort zone: for instance, they like to be in front of their laptops, in the privacy of our homes, quiet libraries, big bookshops, the closed doors of training rooms and so on.   Another e.g. would be putting your professional life in the hands of middlemen to market your services to customers while you wait and wait for them to give us the good news soon.

The hard truth is: purely staying on as ‘product experts’ (just building their skills alone) does not often bring them sufficient coaching opportunities to remain as ‘Coach Movers’.

I personally know of quite a few good coaches who solely focused on further improving their product skills and knowledge to gain success alone.   So they spent their life savings to earn more and more qualifications.   They ended up disappointed and disillusioned because the customers did not automatically come to their doorsteps and neither did they know how to get them at all.

A ‘marketing minded’ coach has 4 invaluable attributes:

One of them is a creative and innovative mind. With this, they stand out among the many and reach customers better and faster.

To have this, always ask yourself 2 coaching questions:

a) How can I be positively different from most of my competitors?

b) What will get customers’ attention, faster?  

The 2nd attribute is the human quality of courage, determination and perseverance.  

The road to success is a long and winding road (like the Beatles say) for no matter how good you or your services are, you are bound to face many failures and disappointments along the way.

To stay on strong against this, always ask yourself 2 coaching questions:

a) What is my biggest benefit when I stay courageous and fearless at all times?

b) What will I tell myself to stay this way when the going is tough?

The 3rd one is the quality of people connection.

Always remember the best product means nothing to the customer if he doesn’t like or trust you.   And you have little time to build this; you have to be quick and fast at all times.  But when you know how to do this well, the impossible becomes possible.

Always ask yourself these 2 coaching questions:

a) What can I do to make my customers feel very special?

b) What is the best way to greatly impress them?

Finally, the 4th one is your discipline to deliver excellent service consistently.

Bear in mind, you can only disappoint the customer once, and that’s usually the end of the story.   So always deliver with true passion and maximum commitment. This will automatically empower you to give your all to wow them.

Always ask yourself these 2 coaching questions:

a) Which areas of my service will wow my customers most?

b) What will make my service a most unforgettable experience for them?

Staying on course will surely bring you lots of goodness and also to the people who come into your life.

For when you grow, everyone grows, and the coaching community will grow; ……  and grow we will, to become a vibrant coach community!

This is truly my dream, my hope and prayer for you all.

So let’s all be ‘Coach Movers’. We are built to last!!

 

A Man Of All Seasons 

You won’t miss Richard Hoy in a crowd. This tall, handsome, macho, sociable, confident, healthy looking, white bearded gentleman catches most eyes.  I guess it’s his built, personality, charms and mannerisms that attract attention to him. 

The uniqueness of this gentleman is his all roundedness where his external front matches his inner self well.  Here’s a man with some of the finest qualities.  Probably the one that stands out best is his life philosophy of ‘putting more life into his years’, instead of ‘more years into his life’. 

Because of this I had the great honor of having him as my coach student in order to become a Professional Certified Coach some 8 years ago at the age of 70!

Where many would have already packed up their bags, Richard lives every minute of his life with grace.  He has many other pursuits; learning is one, holidaying is the other, having a good time partying yet another and not forgetting the fact that he is running an insurance agency as well.  All these make him so complete.

Today at 78, Richard is still rearing to go.  Indeed, he’s unstoppable.  If anyone of us wants to look for a role model, you can find one right within our immediate circle!

We hear so many stories about success but few about fulfilment.  Richard certainly has both.

That’s why I regard him as a ‘man of all seasons’. 

 

I MISS YOUR LOVE LETTERS, SWEE CHOO!

I still received ‘love letters’ every year from Swee Choo until last year when she was diagnosed with cancer. Every year, this dear friend and old colleague of mine never missed a year to send lovely love letters, a nice soft and crunchy biscuits that we savor during Chinese New Year. This chain of love letters went on for more than 10 to 15 years, even after I left Reliance where we both lived separate lives –she in retirement and I as a Corporate Coach in my own company.  

When many would have regarded me as irrelevant or of no use to them when I resigned from my position of power, this special lady still remembered me for what I am, and not what I could do for her.

Her tin of ‘love letters’ every year before CNY, were expression of a different kind of love- a special, close relationship, kindness and most of all, her gratitude for being her friend when I was her superior when she was a tour manager then. Somehow, she would get it delivered every year, no matter what even though she was in Melaka when I was in Kuala Lumpur. On one occasion, she even took the trouble to attend my birthday here when she was not in the best state of health.

Last week, Swee Choo left us at the age of 77. She may be gone, but her humility, kindness and gratitude will forever be etched in my heart, not only me, but my family and the hundreds of people and fellow tour managers who had a chance to experience her special friendship.

Like it is said, we all have friends or acquaintances, but very few true friends. Swee Choo is definitely one of the few in my world. Indeed, it is so hard to find genuine friends like her.  We all have our hard way of finding out, knowing who is still around you when you are down or when you are of no use to them.

Only true friends stay with you through thick and thin. They have no expectations on others; only memories that never left them no matter for how long.  No wonder, she was a star when she was with her passengers on her Europe tours. They adored her for her demeanor and most of her, her down-to-earth simplicity, and heart of gold.

May the Lord always protect her in His arms …. and I am looking forward to meeting you, Swee Choo, again when my time comes.  

What Does Attending 3 Funerals In A Row Means To Me?

This April month seems like a strong reminder to me that life is so fragile but more importantly is, how prepared are we for this final moment on this earth.  

Attending 3 funerals, and losing 3 people you know in just  two weeks leaves a strong impact on me. It was a bit too much to bear really. Sadness in losing them is one, fear of this eventuality that will happen to me or my very closed ones is next, and anxiety is the other as in my Christian teaching it says that ‘God will come like a thief in the night, striking at the least unexpected moment’.  So when will it be my turn? 

Well, as much as we strengthen ourselves in all aspects of our well being to deal with death – be it courage, resilience, acceptance and letting go off attachments, facing death in our own home front is a totally different matter. In an eulogy by Anne Tee, (who’s also a coach who lost her youthful husband so suddenly),  she told everyone there at the wake that ‘I often advised my friends to take consolation  if someone dies from  a sudden heart attack as it’s the easiest and best way to die’. But she admitted tearfully that when this same thing happened to her husband, she just couldn’t bear it. She now knows that there is no escape from sorrow when it comes to death. Hearing her account was a most revealing moment of what death can do to us. 

I have been thinking very hard on how to deal with this inevitable fate of death. In a way we are all cornered, there’s no way out. So comes the coaching question, “What is the best of no best thing to do”?  This got me to this conclusion that the most mitigating measures we can do are mainly 2. One is to never take our loved ones for granted and to treat them well like as if we are having them around us for the last time.  Treat them well, be selfless to them. Two is to be always prepared for it both spiritually and emotionally. On the spiritual side, it is to be close to God in our prayers and deeds. Emotionally, it is to live purposefully, doing whatever we enjoy and not forgetting to leave something behind for others, called it, your footstep, or legacy or a just good memory.  

So as long as we are still around, consider this living for the day as living on borrowed time that God is still giving us. The least we can do is to stay positive and happy but this won’t be enough if we forget to profusely thank and be grateful to Him for this bonus.