Do we need to leave everything behind?

I recently had a great talk with a friend. During our conversation, he shared with me some of his recent reflections:

When we were young, we have a big goal. In order to achieve that goal, we kept on runing, we left lots of things behind. But once we achieved our goal, we will find out that we lost lots of things.

There are lots things around us we thought they are in the ‘either or’ mode, actually it can be ‘both and’ mode. Which means, in order to achieve our goal, we actually don’t need to throw lots of things away or left them behind. We can adjust them and bring them with us in the journey.

In my previous blogpost, I mentioned about there are three stages of life: Survival mode, success mode and significant mode. It is no doubt that my friend is in his success mode, but he felt that there are so many things he left behind that he should bring on his journey. I will take it as ‘grow together’. You want to bring your friends and your family on your journey. Because–To go faster, you go by yourself, to go further, you go as a team. So I hope this blogpost can bring you some reflections and maybe think of some people who you want to bring on the success journey.

Oh, you asked me what the defination of success again? Let me share a joke with you:

When you are three, success means not pee in your pants.

When you are sixteen, success means have a driver license.

When you are twenty, success means have sex.

When you are thirty-five, success means have a great job!

When you are fifty-five, success means have money!

When you are sixty-five, success means have sex.

When you are seventy, success means have a driver license.

When you are ninty, success means not pee in your pants.

What got you here may not get you there!

I attended the HYSTA’s Learn Top Characteristics of Successful People in Technology seminar last Saturday. It mainly talked about the cultural differences, what we are not aware of can have a very direct impact on our success in business. Edward Yang, a thirty-year industry veteran who has served as Senior VP at several global companies, shared with us from his unique perspective and experiences. He has conquered many of the differences not only for himself in his career advancement, but has helped many others succeed. Ed drew a lot from his personal experience for his talk, from very early on in his career to the very top when he formed strategies with power groups within company boards.

I especially liked the Q & A part of the event. When someone asked Ed what are the key elements for new immigrants like us to reach a successful career, Ed answered “Language, Networking and Care!”

I actually had many thoughts about this question recently. I have numerous friends here from China. They are the top students in the top schools, they are smart, and they work hard. So they had the opportunity to come to the US and settled down. But soon after they settled down, they found out that what they did to succeed in the past didn’t work effectively anymore. Since everyone around them are from top schools, they are all very smart and hard-working. Their competitive advantage became not that much of an advantage any more. So they got a little lost. That’s the result of a culture difference.

I believe there are three stages for life. Survival mode, success mode and significant mode. In order to transform from survival mode to success mode, we need to adapt the local culture and play the same rules as local people do. How? Ed just gave us the great guidelines. Let’s go through them one by one:

1. Language: I will take it as communication skill. If you can’t speak the language well, you are out of the game. However, even if you speak the language well, you still need to know when to speak, what to speak and how to speak. There are many of great training programs out there to help you.

a. Dale Carnegie’s Effective Communication and Human Relations training. (oh believe me, it changed my life. ). It can increase your self-confidence and help you understand human relations. People are often surprised how well I can do a presentation now, the secret is— I practiced a lot. The Dale Carnegie Course gave me a place to practice every week. If you need to speak to 30 people every week for two minutes according to certain topics, sooner or later, you will become an expert in it too.

b. ToastMaster. It will help you to brush up your presentation skill and help you structure your content while you talk.

2. Networking: My favorite book about networking is ‘Never Eat Alone’! It is the bible of networking. The concept in this book is: We don’t call it networking, I call it build up relationship — one at a time. Also, networking is not a way to take advantage of others. It is a way to connect to people and continue adding value to the relationship.

In order to do networking, you can do so many things. You can attend Chinese organizations like HYSTA, CINA, CIE, MJAA etc. You can attend other events from SVAMA, SVASE, AAMA etc. You can also attend all kinds of meetup events (check out The most important thing is: Step out of your comfort zone, open yourself, talk to people!

Since different people have different prospective, you need to talk to people from different culture, different sector, different levels to learn their prospective. You will then have a better idea about yourself and this world. That’s what I call ’self awareness’. The more you understand yourself, the more you will have access to the opportunity around you. And all kinds of opportunities will lead to your success.

3. Cares: I actually appreciate Ed more when he talked about care. Since care is very important in terms of human relations, I call it ‘Empathy’. In China, we believe the technology is the most important thing. So we all focus on technology. That’s only one part of your problem solving skill and contributes 30% to your success. The other 70% depends on how well you can work with people. In order to move up to the next level, you not only need problem solving skills, but also an understanding of people! Care about people and people will care about you in return. So people are more important than things. I recently heard a stack like this:

Dysfunction–Means totally not working.

Function– Means Doing. In this level, no questions are being asked, we just do it. Like we wake up in the morning, we go wash our face, brush our teeth, we don’t need to think about it.

Efficiency — Means Doing X Thinking. In this level, you start to do things while you think. The more you think through, the more you can do it better. Managers are usually in this level. Since their job needs them to handle all kinds of relationship cross department and function.

Effectiveness — Means Doing X Thinking X Feeling. We usually don’t trust our feeling, but it is very important in everything we do. You need to find out your emotional needs when you do things.

Now, you might ask what’s the difference between Efficiency and Effectiveness. Basically Efficiency is on the IQ level and Effectiveness on the EQ level. In another word, Efficiency is do the right thing and Effectiveness is do things right. For example, people on Efficiency mode turn to treat life as a problem solving series. People on Effectiveness mode look at the big pictures and cares what other people think or feel.

Greatness–Doing X Thinking X Feeling X Being. I still need to think more about the being here. But generally it means the way you do things, the style you do things. From efficient mode to efficient mode, you need a coach! From efficient mode to greatness mode, you need a mentor, plus a heart!

What a great list Ed just pointed out! If you want me to add one more element, I will say it is ‘Attitude’. When you can’t change the environment, at least you can change your attitude. And once your attitude become positive, people around you will notice that, then your environment will start to change.

Again, what gets you here may not be what gets you there! I hope the above thoughts can help you overcome the culture difference and turn you on to the success mode. I am looking forward to hearing the great news from you soon!

Impactful communication.

I bumped into this coaching series from Youtube, so I watched a little. It looks very interesting to me. So I hope you like it too. I decide to watch the whole series when I get time, maybe by the end of this week? Let’s try my best.

I attended Elithabeth Xu’s workshop in Google yesterday, it was a very informational session. What I learn the most is:

You should divide your schedule into tactical and strategic. The time you spend on maintain your daily job is tactical. The time you spend on planning for the future, learn things you need, and networking is Strategic. I felt like I was overwhelmed to even maintain my email recently(no wonder Tim Ferris wants to outsource it!) But it is not a good execuse to stop learning. The good ratio is spend 80% of your time on tactical and 20% of time to grow each day. 🙂

Oh, besides that, I used to think walk two times per week, yoga two times per week is good amount of exercise for me already, Elithabeth pointed out that I should do Cardio or Run five times per week, each time one hour to stay healthy. Sounds little channlenge, but fun to do, huh?

The Last Lecture!

My friend Anita just forwarded me this last lecture from Dr. Randy Paush. This is what he said before he knew that he will be die in few month. He reviewed his life and showed us what he wish his kids can learn when they grow up. I should admit that this video just made me cry!

Ok, what did I learn from it?

1. When somebody is hard on you, they are doing that because they care to make you better, so they push you hard. If you do a bad job, nobody comes to you since they don’t care.

2. The brick walls that are in our way are there for a reason, they are not there for keep us out. They are there to give us a way to show how much we want it.

3. Have a sense of fun and wonder, they should never go away!

4. Mother are people are love you even when you pull her hair. Not only mom, I love my niece Duoduo even when she pull my hair hard when she is little, now you know why my hair is so less….:)

5. You think the situation you’ve been through is hard? Just remember that someone is fighting the world war 2 at your age!

6. Let your kids paint their bedroom. Let them to express their own creativities.

7. Care about PEOPLE, not the things! –I like it!

8. Identity as early as you can whether you are a tigger or a eeyore(? Can someone tell me what’s that?). Tiggers are energetic, they are optimitic, they are curious, they are enthusiastic and they have fun! Never, ever estimate the importance of having fun.

9. Work and play well with others, live with interity. Tell the truth!

Continue reading

Enjoying life VS. Enduring life.

I am not sure where did I read this story, but it came to my mind this beautiful morning. The story talked about a couple who lost their lovely son by car accident. After that, their happiness seems being taken away too. They feel no hope in life and it is very painful!

Finally one day, the wife decided to get a divorce. She asked her husband, you just letting your life goes by without enjoying it, right? The husband kept silent, later he wisperd: No, I am enduring it.

I was wondering how many people are enjoying life and how many people are enduring life now. Do you have the habbit of living in the future by deferring your happiness of the current moment? Do you have the feeling the kids are growing so fast, without your notice, they can crawl, they can walk, they can speak already. Maybe you don’t have time to hold their small hand now, but one day when you have time, they’ve had their circle of friends and they don’t allow you to hold their hands anymore.

Remember Journey is just as important as the destination? For me, many times I feel that I want too much, I worked hard on everything I feel is good or important, plus everything others think it is good, but lots of time, we might lost in this pursuing process and forget what’s our purpose to this life by comparing to people around us.

Below is the note I took from the Dale Carnegie Course Session 3 and Session 4. Each note gave me some wow moment and made me think a lot about what the meaning of life, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Continue reading