Reflections on Being 30

30 years.jpg

Dear Reader,

It’s been a while since I wrote blog post, but I’m taking the occasion of recently turning 30 to reflect on what it means to me, where I stand in life now and my perspective on what is yet to come in the future.

To start, I’m glad to say it’s been hectic, rewarding, challenging, stressful at times but most importantly an enjoyable journey. Looking back at the last 10 years, I feel blessed to have been faced with many challenges, phases of life, career changes, love life changes, and I even lived abroad for a short while.

In the past 10 years, I’ve changed 4 jobs and had a complete career shift from IT into Management Consulting. In that period I’ve also earned 6 international certifications and a masters degree. I’ve establish multiple NGOs, elected to the Board in some, advised numerous others, trained more than a 1,000 youth and professionals alike, travelled to numerous countries, met some of the most inspiring people but most importantly married the love of my life and got a beautiful baby boy.

Now that I’m 30, I feel I’m at the nexus of life where I’m definitely more mature, experienced and knowledgeable than any of my previous years, but I’m also less interested in many things, less eager about proving myself here or there, less enticed by new adventures and definitely less willing to take risks.

Overall I feel more rooted in who I became, my family, my country, my friends, my network, my comfort zone in general. Yet 2 things I can’t seem to quench, my curiosity and my ambitions. I constantly feel restless to learn more and achieve more things in my life. In every avenue I take whether it being professional life, academic knowledge, volunteer work or personal/social life… I constantly am on the lookout for what is yet to come, what is next, what the future will bring.

This restlessness is sometimes a much needed fuel that keeps me going, to aspire for more impact and growth, to do more and learn more. Yet at times it somehow feels like a burning desire to take some unwarranted risks, to dedicate more time and effort in things that might not necessarily be in line with what is best at the moment, to dream of things that are not yet attainable nor practical.

One thing I know for sure is that my brain never stops pondering about the possibilities that lay ahead, the “what ifs”, the different ways I can be spending my time and effort. Sometimes I get that urge to just quit my job and break free from the never ending rat race and go freelance, do what I am passionate about, explore different options, establish some social enterprise or simply just hustle my way through life. Sometimes I feel like I want to take a whole quarter of un-paid leave and just spend time with my wife and baby, do some volunteer work, travel around different countries, experience new things that I have been wandering about.

Then reality check comes in and reminds me of all the pros and cons. It reminds me about the lifestyle I’ve put my self and my family in, about the responsibilities of being a husband and a father, about the potential of not being able to provide to my family the basic needs if things go south.  The debate goes on for a while in my head, and usually this happens late at night while gazing out from my balcony to the view of the city, the sea and nature. I realize that the 3 of them are co-existing, balanced somehow, even though some take a toll on the other, but they co-exist and have found their equilibrium (though they are ever changing, they still stabilize somehow). So I remind myself of all that I’m doing lately, from work to volunteering to quality time with family and friends. It gets me to realize that the sea ought not take over the city and nature, nor the city to overtake the others, and balance is the key to sustainability. So I calm myself down and hold my horses from going irrational.

30 is an interesting age, a time in life where one is equipped to do much more than before, but also has many more guidelines and responsibilities. It’s exciting and calming at the same time. It allows me to reflect on the many things that have passed and been achieved, and the many more things that are yet to be done. It reminds me that 3 decades have passed, and God willing, I’d have many more yet to come, so there is still time to do a lot. It gives me the realization that the world doesn’t move as fast as I hope it would, things don’t change as rapidly as I’d like, achievements don’t come by as frequently as I desire, nevertheless there is time and patience is a virtue.

For now, I’m going to take it easy and enjoy the 30s, keep on dreaming and aspiring, keep on pushing for more and learning more while still ensuring that I’m well rooted and grounded, lest I leap into the realm of the unknown.

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Starting a New Career Journey

crossroad1Dear Friends and Readers,

For those who don’t know my career journey so far, here it is.

I come from an IT background, and more than 4 years ago, I took a Project Management Professional (PMP) course at the American University of Beirut – Continuing Education Center (AUB-CEC) in partnership with CMCS Lebanon.

Building on that, I went for the exam and became a certified PMP. In the mean time, the trainer who gave me the course, who eventually became a close and trusted friend, introduced me to the Managing Partner of CMCS. Few months later, they offered me a job at CMCS as a Consultant and that’s when I transitioned from IT into Consultancy.

3 years later, I managed to grow and develop at CMCS to become the Operations Manager in addition to having had the pleasure of delivering training courses of all kinds related to Project Management and Business Analysis, training being something I enjoy passionately. I’ve also managed to earn 3 other certifications (CBAP, PBA, GPM-b) and pursue my masters in Human Resources Management (MHRM) at AUB with a focus on Competency Models and Training Development.

This summer, and out of the blue, I got contacted by the HR of one of the big 5 consultancy firms asking me if I’m interested in joining their team based on my achievements and my LinkedIn profile.

So I went through the selection process and I’m proud to say that I’ve been given an offer, which I took.  Therefore, I submitted my resignation from CMCS and will be heading off to this firm by the end of August.

This means I’m ending a beautiful journey in a company I’ve grown to love and respect its team, its professionalism and its achievements. It’s a hard decision to leave something you are doing well at, but at the same time, sometimes one got to think numerous steps ahead.

In addition to that, I’m not only transitioning out of CMCS, but I’m also leaving the country, which is a major career and life-style change. It’s a leap of faith, and I surely hope it’ll pay off in terms of career growth, more challenges and opening new doors.

I’m proud to say, as of September 1, 2015, I’ll be having a managerial position in the Advisory and Consultancy team at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in their Riyadh Office!

As a final note, I want to thank everyone who supported me in this journey of growth and I’m glad to have met everyone I worked with, partnered with, volunteered with and given a training to anywhere around the globe!

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.

 

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 🙂

 

Other interesting posts:

3 Key Roles of NGO Board Members

NGO Board Pillars

For years now I’ve been involved in NGOs and I’m constantly being surprised with how people perceive Board Members and how Board Members themselves perceive their role. To some, a Board is a group of people who endlessly do meetings after meetings with no avail and to others, it’s some mythical, grandiose, elitist group who got special powers to lead the organization. So let me help you demystify all that…

My involvement ranges from small local clubs to a national organizations to branches of international organizations.  Irrespective of shape, size or topic of those NGOs, I can easily draw a line of similarity among them.

To start with, the Board is sometimes called Board of Directors, Steering Committee, Executive Board or Executive Committee, so in spite of the naming diversity, the roles and responsibilities stay the same.

So let’s talk about the core of the issue. Board members have 3 key roles that form the pillars of any NGO and are as follows:

Decision Making: Board member are usually the founding members or are elected members that lead the organization. In this context, all major decision making in the organization goes through them. Now it has been noticed over and over again that many Board Members become passive and rather apathetic to decisions being taken, which makes the whole organization go biased towards the opinions of the remaining Board Members. So if you’re on a Board of an NGO and you see this happening around you, don’t freak out, you’re not alone…its a trend!

Yet it’s important to deal with this issue as it is crucial to have all Board Members involved in all decisions or else you’ll start seeing resistance and conflicts arising here and there every once in a while, especially from those same inactive Board Members.

What makes decision making in NGOs different from Private Sector or Governmental Institutions, is the fact that everyone’s opinion matters and most decisions are done either democratically or through consensus, so it should never be a one man show. If it seems to be or become a one man show, then you know it’s about time to change some things…

Organizational/Executive/Functional: In addition to having decision making role, all Board have a distribution of roles and responsibilities where the most common structure is “President, Vice President, General Secretary, Treasurer & Accountant” thus each of those individuals not only has his decision making role, but also a functional role to play, whether it’s taking care of financials, or internal communication or following up on tasks or heading committees..etc. Thus if those tasks and responsibilities are implemented properly, you would’ve successfully built the second pillar of the NGO to ensure that it stands tall and becomes sustainable. When this role is done properly, the internal dynamics of the organization start functioning properly.

Jack-of-All-Traders: Yes you read it right, as soon as you become a Board Member of an NGO you suddenly get to become a jack of all trades as your responsibilities will expand beyond what you expect. So you roll up your sleeves and you start doing tasks related to strategic planning, outreach, public relations, proposal writing, volunteer management, project management, reporting,  web development, graphic design, fundraising, training, consulting, event organizing and so on and so forth. So when you’re joining the Board of an NGO, its not just about doing your decision making or your functional role, but you’re expected to be involved at all levels, in all your projects and operations and to become well knowledgeable about them to assist, support and improve what your organization does.

So in a nutshell, I can say those 3 pillars are what makes a healthy Board and thus a healthy organization if they were implemented properly and professionally. If you’re a Board Member, and you feel you’re missing out on any of those…then double check with your team as you are probably holding your organization back because are doing them. Whereas if you’re doing all three and you feel other Board Members aren’t, then its about time you share the workload with them.

On a last note, properly leading an NGO can be as consuming and demanding, if not more demanding, then leading your own company due to the social factor of it and having several decision makers with you on equal levels of authority, ownership and responsibility…

So if you’re a Board Member on an NGO… God bless you! and if you know someone who is…now you know why they do so many meetings! hehehe

Other interesting posts: