Two-Thirds Of The Long Weekend So Far ……

Another long weekend beckons ……

And a much needed one as well after running pretty much at full steam end May / June. Of course some pretty unpleasant stuff / minor setbacks occurred over the past week – putting a brake to the ‘momentum’ I have been building up, to my discontentment.

Which means its time to take a step back, take stock for a bit and do some necessary ‘re-charge’ to get back to a more ‘optimal’ state of mind again.

Long weekend started early for me as Friday was my usual-out-of-office day. However couldn’t shake off my restless state of mind (must been the angst I have been carrying out throughout the week). Meditation …… heart opening yoga sequence (only to end up struggling on the balancing poses) did not help much. Guess I need more time to get over this ‘bump’ ……

Yesterday (Saturday) – went back to office as planned to do my monthly scanning/clearing/decluttering/archiving. Somehow, at the half-way point of the year, I feel that my progress on the scanning/clearing/decluttering/archiving front has been rather slow. I’m still working on older stuff (pre-2013 materials) before even getting to the newer records (year 2013 onwards) that I will need to start extracting from the common data folder provided by company. Not sure if just 1 Sat afternoon per month (which I started only in April proper) is sufficient to finish up by end of this year …… but just like yoga/life, have to keep going …… and going! Perhaps for the next round in July, I shall try to reach office earlier (around 11) to give myself a better headstart.

Of course, the highlight of going back to work on a Saturday is always filling myself up with a nice lunch. Initially planned to have pasta at Everton Park, only to realise said restaurant is closed on Saturdays. So walked to Amoy Street Food Centre …… saw that not many stalls were open.  Ended up walking further down right to the end of Amoy Street, and settled for Korean lunch @ Wang Dae Bak – one of my ‘more regular’ favourites that serve tasty and value for money Korean set lunches.

Had a seafood soup + seafood pancake …… and together with side dishes, it made for a pretty appetizing and filling lunch. Moreover, I had a pretty light breakfast and was kinda hungry as well 😛

Packed up and left office a little after 6 …… and came home just in time for dinner. Decided to take a break / day off from yoga practice / stretching (have learnt not to guilt trip myself for taking breaks) …… and sat down to finally think about and start jotting down some ideas/things to do/destinations for my next holiday!

Nothing firmed yet. The only thing I know right now is it will be 90% a solo trip as I desire to have some space & quiet this time round. I hope I can make it happen, at the time period that I’m looking at (Q4 2017). Being in the last lap of the banding year, there are also work considerations to think about. It will also mean $$$ spent (versus saving it) …… but let’s think abundance 🙂

Rather than wasting away my Sunday, got up nice and early to go for my once-a-month YIN yoga class @ Yoga Inc Gulliemard – as a ‘treat’ to myself for the long weekend. Probably my ‘longest’ break from YIN class – 6 weeks to be exact as my focus was on rebuilding strength and flexibility post Bali and post food poisoning (a.k.a Bali Belly). As one would describe YIN class, it is about feeling 1% uncomfortable (in the form of holding poses for longer periods – up to 5 mins) to be 99% comfortable (i.e. to allow the muscles to relax). And the tightness in my hips is apparent …… and it does feel slightly uncomfortable and getting used to be holding poses for long periods again after all the ‘yang’ workouts that I have been doing.

The bonus was the rain, and it was really chill and calming to have the cool air coming into the studio. Just like the saying from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow goes – The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain. 

And enjoy the moment!

The theme of ‘courage’ floated in my thoughts throughout the 1 hr 15 min class – it will be something I will think about/reflect/meditate upon in the next couple of days.

Preferred to have local food for lunch post class, and so braved the rain (with umbrella in hand) and walked over to Lor 28 Geylang to check out Fishball Story as originally planned. The noodles did not disappoint and I am very happy with my lunch. Realised there are many coffeeshops within Geylang itself and wondered why didn’t I venture out earlier (the default choice is always to walk to Old Airport Road FC after class for a meal). Gonna google some food bloggers’ Geylang recommended eats as I type now 😛

Took a bus down to Bugis after lunch – specifically to Sephora at Bugis+ to get a new shampoo to try. Starting to feel the YIN in my legs, and so headed back home, lazed a bit and writing this blog entry.

Probably gonna play catch-up on some work and my journalling (super back-log dating back April *gasp*) after dinner. Was deliberating between doing 9am class @ Yoga Lab CBD for another early start tomorrow versus a longer self practice …… but since the 9am class is waitlisted (it was still book-able during lunch), it seems like self practice will be the plan for the last part of my long weekend!

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Ending Off February ….

Intended to write this last night but ended up making up for the lack of sleep the night before (i.e Sunday) by going to bed at 2320 hrs (my earliest in a long long while) ……

Thus an entry to mark a much awaited start to a new month after a pretty tumultuous Febrauary ……

Began Febrauary right smack with food poisoning, which left me drained & tired …… and may I add at a very bad timing too as it was right smack at the week before Chinese New Year! Wasn’t in the mood to enjoy the festivity of ‘monkey year’ in the air as a result.

And of course, with more nasty and unpleasant happenings to come post CNY (namely branch issues which affected my mood rather badly) ….. more struggles in clearing my underwriting backlog. As a result, all the accumulated stress and unhappiness (plus being caught in light rain) led to me spending the last week of Febraruary down with flu and cough!

And having my laptop battery completely drained (down to 45 min usage from the original 2 Hr 45 min) with the laptop being only 1 year 3 months old!!

As much as there are more downs than ups where February is concerned, there has still been a few good ‘shining lights’ that I can be grateful for, such as ……

Finally getting started on a e-learning program (30DLBL) that I have been wanting to do since last year (2015) over the CNY hols ……

With the structure and framework provided by 30DLBL, I have finally managed to put in a regular calling schedule that will help me increase my work activities more consistently and on a longer term scale ……

Coming to a personal realisation that the setbacks/obstacles that I have experienced are God’s way to help me grow and be a stronger and better Wendy ……

2 good discussions/appointments made as a result of consistent calling schedule put in place. Whilst still working towards closure on the things discussed, this is important to me in view of the continued frustration on my underwriting backlog ……

Gotten a haircut which is pyschologically important for myself as a new haircut symbolises cutting away all the bad and having fresh start ……

To add on to the above, ended Feb (Monday Feb 29 to be precise) with a 0900 Hrs morning appointment (one of the 2 discussions as above) and a small case closed (otherwise a big fat duck for February as well) ……

A Peranakan buffet lunch treat from DY …..

Being able to end February with a deep good 9 to 10 hour sleep (as described above) ……

Always remember

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

~~ Alexander Graham Bell

One Door Closes Another Opens

 

Need To Do This Better

Its 1st of July today and this also marks the start of 2nd half of year 2015!

Came across this quote the day before from the MDRT facebook page (they do a daily quote of the day) and decided this would be more than apt to start off July with ……

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Putting in place proper work processes and system (and making it stick) has been 1 major work/business goal of mine for year 2015. As we go into the 2nd half of 2015 …… by my own standards/expectations, still quite a fair way before it reaches the level of refinement that I will ideally like it to be. Definitely a timely reminder for me to ramp up my efforts on this area of my work/business!!

Goal Setting & S.M.A.R.T Goals

As updated in my last 2 blog entries, did goal setting (as a branch) 2 weeks ago ….. and subsequently managed to find time last night (or rather this morning before bedtime) to complete the booklet.

Given it was back to regular PPI / focus group after combined branch goal setting the week before …… and Hari Raya Puasa (public holiday) last Monday …… and a good 3 weeks since we met up (as a small group) …… 1st half hour of the session was dedicated to taking about weekly activity commitment and tracking.

In fact, as I was filling in the booklet last night/this morning, I sort of had a mild epiphany. More often than not, we continuously set goals, only not to follow through on them as we get distracted by many other stuff going on in our lives, thus forgetting about the goals we have originally set for ourselves …… and losing focus as a result.

One common recurring theme that I hear more often than not is the phrase called S.M.A.R.T Goals. When broken down, it means:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

More detailed explaination of each component can be found here – http://topachievement.com/smart.html

Setting goals and writing them down is not difficult. In fact, writing them down is the easiest part of the entire goal setting process. It is following through them, keeping to them and actually acheiving them that is the most challenging/difficult. Simple case in point – how many a time when we were all enthusiastically writing down our new year resolutions at the beginning of each new year …… but only to totally forget and lose track of them as the year goes along, and when we reach year end, bemoan what is NOT done.

Not only that, just writing them down, as much as it is the very 1st step is not good enough. As per the S.M.A.R.T formula, first things first, the goal(s) written must be Specific. Can’t comment on others, but for myself I finally realised many a time, my goals/resolutions ‘fail’ because they are too general, and lack a timeframe (to be done/acheived).

For instance, just saying “I want to lose weight” …… “I want to plan for retirement” …… is not enough. There has to be a timeline (by when) …… a target result (how many kilos, how much $$) – which comes under the 2nd M – Measurable. If we do not keep track, how are we supposed to know how close are we to our set goals right? Tracking and keeping regular updates on our progress is also another key component that we fail to do. So end of the day, if we end up as ‘headless chickens’ feeling like we have acheived nothing, it is more important that we take responsiblity for the lack of commitment in tracking 1st, rather than blaming the environment and external circumstances for our ‘failure’.

This is also what happened to me as my lack of enthusiasum resulted in me slacking off my tracking/monitoring …… thus my year end banding goal fell short of expectation. Lesson learnt on my part! And not just work. Like what CP has shared on more than one ocasion on her weight loss experience, tracking her food intake, exercise output and measuring her weight daily – the consistency of these activities day in day out meant that she was successful in her weight loss goal. Definitely something we can learn from and apply as well.

As I write, doing the S and M components right would mean that the A component i.e. Attainable is acheivable as well. And of course they must be Realistic. As highlighted in the link above, a realistic goal is one which you are both willing and able to work towards.

To give a very specific and real life example. In the course of my work, I always hear clients/prospects telling me they want to save and invest for retirement, only not to follow through using lack of time, no mood as excuses not to take action. Generically speaking, saving and investing for retirement sounds simple enough …… but how as a financial planner are you supposed to be able to guide your client/prospect towards this ‘simple’ goal when they are unwilling to do the following:

1. Commit a cash flow amount for saving/investing
2. Refuse to do up a basic Income & Expenses data sheet after saying they have no idea how much they save
3. For those who say they need time to think about it, they end up chucking it aside, using no time as an excuse. A common thread is also that there is also no timeline/time commitment on their part to get this done-up as it is up to them only when its convenient and when they are in the mood.
4. Refuse to engage in further discussion – either not picking up calls, responding to emails, refusing follow-up appointments etc. In my view, this is 100 times worse than being risk-averse and not having much left to save as it is irresponsiblity and rude-ness at its core.

So how am I suppose to ethically advise a client, be considerate to ALL their needs (they will tell you they don’t want to buy too much insurance because they need to set aside for retirement and property purchase. Fair enough, so where is the cash flow breakdown??) …… and yet a simple thing as Net Income, Net Outflow and Net Savings also don’t want to give …. don’t want to engage ….. so basically these people are just wasting our time giving opaque and unrealistic goals given how totally unwilling and unable they are to work on it.

And the last T – apart from it being Timely (grounded within a specific time frame) …… it should also be Tangible. A tangible goalis one where you can experience it with one of your senses – be it taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. Rather than going into such sensory aids, I would say, if we can see results/things happening by the actions we take …… we are 1 step closer to the goals that we have set out to acheive!

But of couse in order to see the results that will keep us motivated towards reaching our goals, we have got to do our basics right i.e. the S, M, A, R before the T comes into play.

So at the end of the day ……

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Ending Off The Week

We have a 5 week month again (since 1st July began on a Tuesday and 31st July is on a Thursday). So we have 1 more week before July comes to an end! Before that a long weekend as Monday is Hari Raya Puasa.

Struggled with a bad bad cough for the good part of last week …… to the point that there was hardly any focus/meaningful energy put into work matters – which meant that work activities took a great backseat. Mediocre/lousy week overall 😦

And so started off the week with combined branch Annual Goal Setting Day!

This is the 4th year in a row we are having it as 3 branches combined. So in a way, it does feel like going through the motions all over again. Didn’t feel good through out the day, as the roaring cold air-con in the Training Room kept making me cough and cough *argh* However one good thing about this year’s programme was that there was significantly less ‘sponsored’ talks (from various product providers which we are obligated to give airtime) as we only had 1 provider for the entire day …… and more sharing from the company’s senior management + adviser sharing. Which made the day a more meaningful one than expected. Despite feeling slightly negative about it from the onset, at the end of the it, now I feel more motivated to not just fill in the booklet, but also integrate it together with the daily tracking as per our weekly branch PPI (focus group) format. Task for the weekend!

In addition to being sick, also felt irriated about my long bangs …… and so, went down to my regular salon in Bugis to get it trimed. Decided against an overall hair trim as I may want to do it in HK instead. So another item down! Then did a quick catch-up with JT at Paris Baguette in Bugis Junction – the space where Paris Baguette is used to be where J.Co donuts were. Quick a shocker I must say as the whole B1 of BJ got re-modelled for the upteenth time ……

Since I still had signs of niggling cough upon waking up on Tuesday morning, decided to lug my laptop to office so that I can go back to office to catch up on some work after product launch in the afternoon. Nothing majorly eventful …… but got to know 2 reps from O branch better as we went to have lunch at Level 7 A Office 🙂

After having my sleep disrupted by incoming whatsapp throughout the night and early in the morning, decided to go back to sleep,thus skipping A sales gym (2nd session that I registered and subsequently skipped) ….. and ended up waking up at 1115 hrs! That’s grossly late for once and thus my day started late. Was eagerly to get back onto pace where work is concerned so decided to head into office, and probably stay late for once. Reached Tanjong Pagar MRT a little after 2 …… and since I am sick of eating the same old stuff at Amoy, decided to just walk the other direction to Tanjong Pagar Market & Food Centre as there should be less crowds post lunch. And so, finally got to eat this stall (which always has long quenes for its fish/seafood/fish maw soup) ……

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Had the seafood soup together with noodles (they use instant noodles kind of yellow mee). The soup is light and delish, and for $3.50, its a steal. Will be back to try the fish maw and abalone soup next time.

Back to my usual Thursday routine – early start and my usual spin class on Thursday evening. Managed to make some calls to finally get some work activities going and finished up a blog rant (on my private financial blog) on a troublesome client which has been in the drafts folder since the week before. Took things easy as it was a Fat Burn ride …… but at least it feels good to be back doing some proper exercise after that troublesome cough 🙂

Had to do appointment preparation so was back in office on Friday afternoon …… which makes it a full 5 day week in office (including Goal Setting)! Somewhat unplanned but strangely in a way, I’ve got more done as compared to the past couple of weeks (which co-incided with my slump). This calls for a rethink in planning out my work week and office time, hmm …… Food for thought indeed! Ironically was pretty unhappy with my average/mediocre chickren rice lunch so went back to the mini steamboat stall for my favourite Salted Vege With Beancurd & Meat Mini Steamboat set for a great warm comforting dinner (which is also great value for money at $4.50 only) to end off the evening.

Woke up on Saturday morning to an incoming whatsapp from a MIA client. Pleasant surprise that as ironically, I had the same client on my to-call list, which I have not gotten down to contacting yet. Guess we will get in touch after the Hari Raya Hols 🙂 …… Sunday meeting got postponed to the following weekend though, but well, still glad I did the necessary prepration work the day before (Friday) and not waited to do only after confirming timing – because it is better to do your job properly without rushing through and cutting through corners as I take pride in a job well done. After much thought, decided to get 1 sms sent out as well …… done my part, leaving the rest to faith/the person up there.

On a more positive note, finally managed to find a block of time in the morning and finally managed to get my weekly motivational audio done up. Gained great insights once again – particularly on buildng tiny habits. From my experience with calling and setting meetings/appointments this week, I realised that I will greatly need to increase the calls made …. to get more meetings/activities going. And so, the ‘tiny habit’ I’m going to work on for the coming week is to have a long specific list of people to call …… and gradually overcome my caller’s block. And also, the importance of ending off the week well. Thus 1st things 1st – will wrap up all outstanding items before Sunday comes to a close, rather than drag it and carry foward to the next week, which is a bad habit of mine.

Last but not least, 2 beautiful background shots from the momentum dashboard on my Chrome browser to end off the week!

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Ironically for both dashboards, they both end off with the same quote:

People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity no matter how impressive their other talents. – Andrew Carnegie

Getting Started Again ……

One of the most challenging things in life is getting a goal/project going – and sticking to it! It can be something simple – such as eating less carbs, sleeping earlier …… to something involving higher stakes such as a new job, prospecting in a new target market, sticking to a budget etc. ……

One of my main 2014 new year resolutions is to run a PB for half-marathon this year. The only race that I have signed up to date was the 2XU Compression Run (most likely to give Sundown a miss as I prefer to use the time to concentrate on production matters for the last lap of banding year without the distraction of training). However after being sick since before Christmas (started with sore throat and mild flu from 20th Dec 2013) …… to the irriating cough that refuses to go away well into year 2014 (until mid of last week), workouts and training runs (if there were even any at all) have to take  a backseat.

So rather than setting goals to run X km and doing X workouts per week (as per a prescribed training plan that you can get online from Runner’s World for instance), the one simple goal I had for this week was simply an easy run (at least 20 min and 2km covered) to get back into the running cycle again. No long workouts as it is usually not wise to start long after a long break from the activity (in my case, my last run was the Great Eastern Women’s Half Marathon back in early Nov!) ……

The original plan was to get a run workout in on Tuesday (14th Jan) followed by spin class on Thursday (16th Jan). Bad habit of dily-dalying, thus left office only at around 720pm. Then another bad habit of not fueling up sufficiently pre-workout (the small cheese stick from Sophies was not sufficient as I felt my stomach rumbling) – thus had to get a chicken wing at Old Chang Kee before heading to the gym to change …… Then had to take in a client phone call about some issues. Sighz ……

By the time I got changed, it was already 5 min past late. Decided to abort the plan of an outdoor run, and simply do 15 min on the threadmill instead. However after warm-up and some hip abuctors (machine), was so bothered by client’s phone call that I decided an outdoor run was necessary after all (to clear my mind and also to get training going again) ……

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Lousy statistics indeed but I guess the most important thing is that I have acheived my goal of a run (on Tuesday night) to get my running activity going again. As an analogy to life, we have to start taking action first, before taking the next step of keeping the actvity going and developing it into a lifelong habit!

Ending of with a favourite quote of mine,

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
~ Lao Tzu