Practicing Mindfulness

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A friend once asked me about my secret for not getting stressed or overwhelmed with the sheer load of responsibilities, decisions and tasks I joggle on a daily basis. My answer was simple: mindfulness.

By mindfulness I mean the ability to be attentive and aware of your current mental, emotional and physical state at the moment while focusing objectively on what is going on in the present. If I am to elaborate on it, it is like being able to observe yourself, your thoughts, your feelings and everything happening around you simultaneously.

Mindfulness is that mental state where you are aware of yourself, acknowledging your loud thoughts and in touch with your own emotions. It is that sense of clairvoyance and focus on what is, rather than what has been or what is to be.

So if you feel overwhelmed often, stressed, emotional, depressed or simply seeking a happier and more positive state of mind, I do recommend you read about mindfulness. Here are few recommended readings from my side:

Here are a couple of videos to help as well:

Enjoy and be mindful! 馃榾

From 2013 to 2014: Reflections & Projections

2013 2014Now that we’ve embarked on聽2014, and after spending some time reflecting on how everything went in 2013 in聽my life, I’d like to share some of the milestones and things that were聽important to me in 2013 and some of those that I have planned for 2014.

Over the years, I’ve learned聽that when we share and write what we have achieved, we value it more, and when聽we do the same for what we dream and plan of, we somehow become more聽psychologically motivated and committed to achieve it. So I do recommend you聽share the same, whether here as a comment on this blog posts or with your聽network somehow.

So here it goes:

2013

Personal:

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Read A Lot: Just聽a quick estimate, I read around 3 articles daily on topics of interest, each聽ranging from 1 to 5 pages. So if I take an average, I read about 1,000+聽different topics in 2013 alone.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Learned to Let Go: For聽someone like me who likes to stay on top of things and feeling in-control, it was a tough journey. But nevertheless, I did聽manage to let go of some personal relations, roles in NGOs and the actual need聽to be in-control of so many things.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Spent More Quality Time: Yes,聽this was a key goal for me to have a more balanced life in 2013, and I am glad聽to say I truly value the quality time I spent with family,聽friends and loved ones.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Traveled to New Places: In聽2013 alone, I traveled to new cities I never visited before and are London, Oxford,聽Cappadocia, Mersin, Khartoum and Dubai.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Slept More Daily: As of聽early December, I managed to sustain a 6~8 hour sleep per day (up from just 3~4聽hours previously).

Career:

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Got Promoted:聽Through my work at CMCS Lebanon, I got聽promoted to the position of Deputy Operations Manager and will be starting my聽new role as of January 2014.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Coordinated A New Program at AUB-CEC: Also聽through CMCS Lebanon and in聽collaboration with AUB CEC, I’m聽proud to say I played a key role in launching and coordinating the Region’s 1st聽Project Management Postgraduate Diploma. But to be honest, team work聽is everything, and the team I work with at CMCS and AUB are the ones who truly聽made it all happen.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Trained A Lot:聽Throughout 2013 I gave more than 10 training courses at AUB and others, while聽I’ve also introduced a new certificate based training course about Business Analysis called Certified Business聽Analysis Professional (CBAP) which I’m also the only certified聽professional in Lebanon till now.

NGOS & Volunteer Work:

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Transitioned Out of Aie Serve: For 7聽years, I served as a co-founder and president of Aie聽Serve and it was about time to let a new leadership come in place and聽shine. So I’m proud to say that we successfully did an elections where a whole聽new Board was elected and I transitioned to become one of the organization’s聽Advisors.

聽 聽 聽 聽Revived Global Shapers Beirut Hub: In聽December, leaders of the Global Shapers聽Community from the World Economic聽Forum visited Beirut, and with their support and some Shapers in Beirut, I’m glad to say that I’m playing a聽role in reviving the previously dormant Beirut Hub. Thus聽6 new Global Shapers were recruited in December.

聽 聽 聽 聽Launched A Youth Project at PMI Lebanon聽Chapter: With the support of my fellow PMI Lebanon Chapter Board,聽we’re launching a new Project Management for Youth Initiative in collaboration聽with PMI- Educational Foundation.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Partnered with CSR AL Ahli:聽Another highlight for me is making a partnership between Aie Serve and CSR Al Ahli Group聽to provide Mentors for CSR in Actionprogram to give Social Innovators who are working on serving the community the聽needed support to succeed.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Coached, Mentored & Trained Youth:聽Throughout the year, I realized I enjoy and become full of energy when I am聽training or coaching or mentoring youth, and thus I spent hours and days with聽10s of them in training workshops, meetings, sessions and retreats.

2014

Personal:

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Take Care of My Body: A聽healthy mind is in a healthy body they say, thus I’ll be focusing taking better聽care of my own body whether through sports, a healthier diet or just simply聽less stressful schedule.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Sustain Balance: Keep聽on the sleeping habits, take more vacations and continue spending quality time in聽abundance.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Keep Reading: With聽my current reading habits I guess I’m on the right track.

Career:

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Excel At Managing Operations: Now聽that my new role involves working in Operations Management, I’ll be going the聽extra mile to learn more about it and excel at it.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Expand Training Regionally: Now聽that CMCS has some stellar training聽courses and workshops, it’s prime time to take them regionally in 2014.

Academic:

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Start My Masters: I’ve聽got my eye on 2 Master Programs, and will be registering in one of them before聽the end of year if God wills. Eventually, it’s about time I proceed my academic聽growth after acquiring 3 professional certificates in the past 3 years which聽are PMP, CBAP and GPM-b.

NGOs & Volunteer Work:

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Support Aie Serve’s Growth &聽Sustainability: With a new Board in place and a Strategic Planning Retreat聽scheduled early January, I’ll be doing all I can to ensure the new Board and聽all Aie Servians continue their work properly, grow and enjoy the journey.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Grow Global Shapers Beirut Hub: Now聽that we have a bigger team, January will be the month when the Hub will do their first event.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Transition Out of More NGOs: New聽challenges arise every now and then and in 2014, I’ll make sure to take on some聽of those, but to do that, I’ll need to drop of some of the current load. In聽this context, I’ll be transitioning out of my role in PMI Lebanon Chapter and Alumni UNESCO Club.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Building A Regional Network for Rule of Law: Through being a John Smith TrustFellow, I’ll be working with other fellows all around the region from Lebanon,聽Iraq, Jordan, Oman, and Bahrain, to build and 聽institutionalize a network of聽chapters in each country to promote and work on rule of law.

That is about it for the time聽being, and I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps got inspired by a few things here聽and there.

I’d really like to get to know聽your reflections on 2013 and your plans for 2014! 馃檪

Three Elements for Career Resonance

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I’ve found that there are 3 key elements that can help you choose the career that will allow you to be happy and productive to reach your career resonance. However, I would like to start by explaining what I mean by resonance. According to HyperPhysics, resonance in physics and sound systems refers to the natural frequency of vibration, determined by the physical parameters of the vibrating object, at which it reaches peak vibratory performance (2000).

Now let me explain how resonance applies our careers by elaborating on the 3 key elements.

Aptitude

This is our capacity to adequately perform a specific type of work. It is influenced by our thoughts and preferences (pragmatic or creative, multi-functioning or single functioning, numeric or wordy, extrovert or introvert鈥tc). So, the first critical step is to know our self which could actually be done by taking psychometric tests like Myers-Briggs, Jung Typology, MBTI and others. In conclusion, knowing our personal aptitude will help us identify what makes us tick hence our “natural frequency of vibration”.

Type of Work

This element is about knowing what type of tasks we enjoy. A job usually contains numerous types of tasks, not all of them which are pleasant. Thus, it’s important to know which type of tasks we really enjoy: is it dealing with people,developing content, building mathematical models, or doing research? Once we are able to actually list the type of tasks that we enjoy then we’d probably have narrowed down the type of jobs that we’ll apply to. Therefore, knowing our preferences in terms of type of work will allow us to choose the type of work that is in tune with our personal aptitude.

Work Environment

Last but not least is the work environment: the actual place you’re working in. Some of us enjoy a 9 to 5 job, others prefer a more flexible schedule. Some people prefer to work in big teams, others prefer small groups. Some prefer to work in a well-structured big company, while others prefer a more dynamic and less bureaucratic small company. All those play a major factor in making us comfortable to do the type of work we like to do.

Knowing the type of work environment that suits us allows us to really pinpoint the places we prefer to work in and thus complete the chain of “Career Resonance”.

So as an example, here is my own breakdown of the 3 elements:

Personal Aptitude Type of work Work Environment
  • Multi-tasking person
  • Extrovert
  • Night Owl
  • Pragmatic
  • Fast paced
  • Hyper focused
  • High emotional intelligence
  • Bad Memory
  • Un-interested in routine/mundane tasks
  • Challenge Seeker
  • Researching & writing
  • Setting strategies and plans & follow up on their implementation
  • Training
  • Consulting
  • Mentoring
  • Coordinating numerous team members and tasks
  • Individual work if it requires focus and a fast pace
  • Teamwork when it is about ongoing tasks/responsibilities
  • Prefer small teams and minimal bureaucracy
  • Friendly/family like work environment where professionalism isn’t about rigidity
  • Flexible work schedule, with possibility of work-at-home over-night

So as you can see, using the above 3 elements to find the right career for me in the right work environment is definitely a challenge.However, I’m already in a workplace that fulfills quite a lot of the above; thus I’m being able to achieve much more than in my previous job , Also, despite all the challenges and risks that I had to take to start achieving my career resonance, it was absolutely worth it!

The same applies to you.So, go ahead and define your preferences and needsand make your choice to leap towards your career resonance.

Why Arabs Won鈥檛 Rise Up Anytime Soon

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Building on my humble knowledge, I get to have some observations and analysis of the world I live in. So here’s one for the day: Arabs won鈥檛 rise up anytime soon!

My aim here is not to push you 聽to lose hope on Arabs progress, but rather trying to shed light on certain elements of why are the Arab nations still way behind in terms of technology, economy, civil-rights, and politics, just to name a few.

Yes, I’m an Arab and I sadly got to the conviction that Arabs won鈥檛 rise up anytime soon. If you observe how nations grew into world powers you will realize that most of them have two main factors in common: Institutionalization and care for public good. Apparently, those two factors are missing (either one or both) from almost all Arab countries!

We’re mostly an individualistic nation: a nation formed of hundreds of millions of individuals who want to shine individually rather than as a nation. Collaborating together for the common good in a well-structured and institutionalized manner is something perhaps beyond the short-term wins that those individuals perceive.

We dislike systems, processes, policies, procedures, long term goals and the common good when it contradicts with personal gain and hence we try to avoid them as much as we could! So if we can avoid filling a form, not follow a procedure, rule, or policy (or at least get away with it), take a shortcut, or go for a quick win, we鈥檇 will go for it.

Examples of what I mean here can be as small as not standing in line whenever there is a queue to not stopping on a red light or following the road signs. It can also be as major as politicians not acting as part of an institution with a system, but rather acting like heads of mafias, bending and changing the rules, the governmental institutions and policies to fit their own needs and desires. The bigger problem is not that they do it, but rather no one actually holds them accountable for what they do. Many people accept such a behavior and thus the issue exacerbates with time. Even with the so-called 鈥淎rab Spring鈥 and the people rising to demand for their rights, the same thing was done all over again, 鈥渓eaders鈥 took charge and bent rules to fit them and their 鈥済roup鈥.

Just to be fair, there are some positive deviants from the norm, like in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where they actually plan years ahead, put systems and policy in place, and do proper enforcement and follow up. In Egypt, though millions go on demonstration, they leave the roads clean and ensure things are properly back in place.

Nevertheless, most of us are always chasing the quick wins, the individual recognitions, the shortcuts and the “what’s in it for me” attitude, at least for the time being. So in a nutshell, we’re mostly an individualistic nation, we produce endless shining stars but not a collaborative galaxy!

My recommendation would be to start learning the following, so we can perhaps start taking baby steps towards progress:

  • Willingness to learn, humbleness, and long term strategic planning from the Japanese
  • Willingness to put the nation before self, economic agility and discipline from the Chinese
  • Structuring and building systems, pragmatic thinking and financial wizardry from the Americans
  • Strength and value of team work and communal wellbeing from the Penguins
  • Perseverance, discipline and working as one from the Ants

I’m saying all of this not with a perspective of despair but rather a belief that everything is feasible and if we learn to change how we think and act, we can definitely do wonders.

 

Other Articles That Might Be of Interest:

Compilation: Management & Personal Development

Personal Development
Personal Development

I was asked by some of my friends to compile related articles together in an accessible way. Thus, I’m posting this as a simple compilation of relevant articles under the theme of “Management & Personal Development”.

Check the links below of the aforementioned articles:

 

I hope you enjoy the articles and feel free to subscribe to my Blog for regular updates.

 

A Key to Happiness: Love Thy Self!

ImageMy dear reader,

Today, I’m going to share with you a secret of mine that made me find one of the ways to聽happiness. It’s more intuitive than you might think and I hope it works for you as well 馃檪

I’ve went through several transformations in my life and by far the most critical of them was learning to love myself. I’m not talking about being conceited and self centered, that is way too far from what I mean; it’s actually about learning to look in the mirror and really appreciating and loving the person you see.

So what I want you to do after reading this article is to go to the nearest mirror and ask yourself if you love the person you are seeing. Do you appreciate all what this person has been through and what this person became as a result of those experiences? But always remember to be extremely honest to yourself while answering all those questions to be able to identify the way you see yourself.

If your answer is yes, then learn to appreciate yourself more by recognizing and loving that person. This is crucial, simply because the more you love yourself, the easier it would be to really love others and hence open the door for others to love you back.

In my childhood, when I used to look in that mirror, I didn’t really love the person I used to see. I wanted to be different and even completely someone else. I felt like things were missing in me, but as I matured and as things changed in my life, that perception for the person in the mirror changed. All the changes that happened taught me to love myself and love my life.

It’s that moment, that point in time where you start your journey of聽happiness聽because聽happiness聽is not a destination but rather the journey itself.

You’ll be surprised how your self-perception projects itself on your feelings, actions, attitude and hence your life as a whole. In return, this will influence the way people see you.聽So, take my brotherly advice and figure out what it takes you to start loving yourself. Only then, life will love you back and you will enjoy your journey full of聽happiness 馃檪

Other Interesting Posts:

Mentor, Coach & Consultant: What is the Difference?

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Building on my previous post, I got a friend who asked me about the difference between a Mentor, a Coach and a Consultant. She seemed confused about which one should she call on one of the projects she’s leading, so I thought why not share it with the world as well.

Mentor: Someone who has a considerable amount of experience in a specific field, topic, industry and uses it to guide others, to show them where to look, sheds light on the dark spots they are not seeing.

Coach: Someone who has the skills and know how of asking the right questions to people to extract ideas, concerns and decisions from them. So the coach actually works through the other person to get results rather than show them the way or guide them into a solution.

Consultant: Someone who has the knowledge and expertise in a certain field, topic or industry along with the skills of how to facilitate discussions and ask the right questions to be able to give you the best solution for a specific issue or problem you are facing. So if you want you can consider a consultant as a meeting points between Mentor and Coach, yet doesn’t full engulf both.

So in a simplified manner, a Coach helps you come up with what you want and what your goals are, a Mentor shows you the way to get there, and a Consultant gives you the means and tools to actually get there.

I personally have had all three and I’m thankful for my Coaches, Mentors and Consultants for helping me in being where I am today 馃檪

 

Other interesting posts:

Teacher, Trainer & Facilitator: What’s the Diff?

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Well I’ve realized that many “professionals” still mix up between calling them self a teacher/instructor or a trainer or a facilitator. So I felt like sharing the below brief differentiation …this is by no means an academic definition, but rather from my own research and humble experience…so I’m open for all possible suggestions/enhancements. Here it goes鈥

Teacher/Instructor: Someone who has a sum of knowledge, concepts and theories that he/she transfers via lecturing/presenting to a group of participants.

Facilitator: Someone who has the skills to moderate and run sessions, exercises, discussions and work groups where knowledge is shared by and extracted from the participants themselves.

Trainer: Someone who has knowledge and practical experience in a specific topic that he/she transfers via sessions, exercises, case studies, examples along with presentations and what not. So if you want you can consider a trainer to be a blend between a Teacher/Instructor and a Facilitator. Thus the personal skills are as crucial as the knowledge and expertise of that person.

Now as a matter of fact, the “Job Title” or “Post” doesn’t necessarily dictate what the person does…I’ve seen teachers who actually train in their classes, who are very interactive and utilize a lot more than presenting. At the same time, I’ve seen trainers who actually “Teach” or “Instruct”. Some have a mix where they sometimes teach, sometimes facilitate and sometimes train…so it’s a flexible issue.

What really matters is to know what the person is actually doing鈥 I hope that was somewhat helpful 馃槈

Other interesting posts:

An Added Value of Being Lebanese

Lebanon

The more I interact with people from around the world, the more I travel, the more I work with different cultures, nationalities and what not I become prouder and prouder of being Lebanese.

I’ve realized that as Lebanese, we become hard wired to be resilient, adaptable, expansive and global.

I’m yet to see a country where you don’t find a Lebanese community in it, and you somehow always find them adapting to that community, learning its ways, spreading their wings and flying high among the community members.

If you were born to a Lebanese origin, you automatically entered a network of individuals spread all around the globe. You automatically grow to understand your role in this ever changing world, you get to consider wider perspectives and ambitions than many other nationalities I’ve seen…you get the mindset that the world is just a small village, and no matter where you go…you’ll manage, not because you got some super powers, but rather because we grow up engaged with the globe…studying in one country, working in another, having relatives and friends around the globe…and that’s not only because of the political or economic situation in Lebanon, even ages ago when things were all better in Lebanon…Lebanese still were wide spread.

So in a nutshell, being Lebanese, you got that added value of being, by default, a global citizen!

To all my fellow Lebanese around the globe, I’m proud of you…shine on!