#YourTurnChallenge – #Day7 – The last minute screwup

Day 7 and the last day of the challenge.  The original post can be found here: http://yourturnchallenge.tumblr.com/post/109194136920/the-last-minute-screwup

[For the purpose of reposting, I have deliberately not looked into the grammar mistakes. Because excessive editting is my way of stalling the final product, which defeats the purpose of this challenge. Specifically for this post, I paraphrased the title for this reposting.]

It is interesting how quickly we can let the last lap fall through the cracks. Day 7 of the challenge is really just that – the 7th day of blogging daily in a row.
However, since that is also the ‘end’ of something, like a 7 day #YourTurnChallenge – something always seems to come up to mess things up. Intuitively, it’s one day or one step more, before we accomplish a milestone. Rationally, we come up with reasons or actions that allows us to forego that last step.
Success is not elusive, nor is it impossible.
We just think ourselves that way.
And when we think, we are not moving, not stepping forward. When we think – possibly too much – we get paralysed. Maybe that last step doesn’t matter. No one will know. I can always try this again, it’s after all just 7 days. Maybe I don’t really want to do this. Maybe no one will like what I write.
Yes – thank you very much for the thoughts – and step forward anyway.
You might have gotten to the finish line then. Or maybe, there is still a long way to go. But for that matter, you would have been one step, then 7 steps, then many steps ahead looking back.
Maybe I can really do this.

#YourTurnChallenge – #Day6 – Overwhelmed by the moment

Day 6 of the challenge.  The link to the post on the blog is here: http://yourturnchallenge.tumblr.com/post/109000265305/overwhelmed-by-the-moment

[For the purpose of reposting, I have deliberately not looked into the grammar mistakes. Because excessive editting is my way of stalling the final product, which defeats the purpose of this challenge. Specifically for this post, I paraphrased the title for this reposting.]

Perhaps it was because I had too much to do in the day, that that moment was the first point I could really pause internally.

But I think the reason doesn’t really matter.

At that point, the sun was nicely streaming in, I finally got a moment to pause and rest my feet. And just be still. Sounds of water from the pool outside. Laughter from the neighbor’s kids. My children (actually) quietly eating. And to top it off, a nice breeze through the open window.

There are moments that I’m overwhelmingly grateful, just because I’m able to experience it.

I guess the only way to justify the privilege of that moment is to fully experience it.
I guess the only way to fully experience it is to fully be in the moment, whatever that calls for.
I guess the only way I can remember its imprint is to be full grateful.

And then welcome the next moment.

#YourTurnChallenge – #Day5 – Past glory is past

Day 5 of the challenge.

[For the purpose of reposting, I have deliberately not looked into the grammar mistakes. Because excessive editting is my way of stalling the final product, which defeats the purpose of this challenge. Specifically for this post, I paraphrased the title for this reposting.]

I’m all for nostalgia, and like some things that would be called vintage today. And of course, vintage fashion.
But past glory, can remain in the past for me.
We get used to quote our credentials, our past achievements. When I was …… I used manage ….. And I also used to do ……
Past glory, is just that. It’s past. It keeps us in the past. It keeps us at a benchmark, so the only place I’ll ever go is in reference to that benchmark.
What if the path we are meant to walk next has no earlier reference, no benchmark? Then what?
Past glory can remain in the past. I continue to be greatful to the opportunities, learnings, exposures and achievements. And I continue to look forward.

#YourTurnChallenge – #Day4 – Creator of my destiny

Day 4 of the challenge.

[For the purpose of reposting, I have deliberately not looked into the grammar mistakes. Because excessive editting is my way of stalling the final product, which defeats the purpose of this challenge. Specifically for this post, I paraphrased the title for this reposting.]

How is it that we hand over our paycheck and then also manage to hand over our responsibilities for our own lives? Because we take our pay check from a contract arrangement, we naturally assume someone else or something (the corporation) owes us a living?
Organizational structures, challenges with change management, fall outs from mergers and acquisitions aside – we get sucked into the game begrudgingly because we hand over the reins to someone or something outside of ourselves.
It is slowly beginning to dawn on me that to take 100% responsibility of our lives is not easy, because 100% will permeate every decision on every moment of how I live my life.
For example, in a work environment, it means that no one decides which way my career path moves. Whether it abruptly stops and change or naturally grows along a certain path. Whether it stalls. Whether I get the exposure or the trainings. Whether I get paid what I think I deserve.
There is a very element of arrogance or humility that colors a person’s experience, however, Being 100% responsibility does not necessarily mean that I am always right, my way is the high way.
And therein lies the dance of life – to take humility in our interactions, to have reverance for the experience of a life, to enjoy every moment, all the time while holding the reins to navigate our own lives awake.

#YourTurnChallenge #Day3 – I want to be tired at the end of the day, the happy kind

Day 3 of the challenge.

[For the purpose of reposting, I have deliberately not looked into the grammar mistakes. Because excessive editting is my way of stalling the final product, which defeats the purpose of this challenge. Specifically for this post, I paraphrased the title for this reposting.]

Day 3 post of Your Turn Challenge. Interestingly, I couldn’t find my past two days post. I did but I forgot to tag it so I can’t search for it again. I spent 30 minutes, to convince myself that somehow I could find it. To be frank, I was scrolling for 30 minutes into the night, getting a little desperate that I couldn’t find my posts.


Yet all I could do is notice the really big smile on my face. I was tired, having worked a long day. Spent a long time scrolling the webpages. While I didn’t find my posts, I know I have posted on the days I had said I would. In other words, I have started writing. I still had my work, my kids, my housework, my personal interests and some me-time to think. Amidst it all, I had started writing.

It started with a simple promise to myself and a chance encounter to post daily for 7 days on #YourTurnChallenge.

It’s now night time. Some things went my way, some things felt like their tides against me. Some things felt like fresh insights. Others felt like I was stuck in a loop.

All through that, it is now night.

But for the sole reason that I had written, I had taken an extremely small fraction of my day to do something for myself, and kept that promise, feels like an entirely well spent day. Maybe this is how it is to start ending my day exhausted, the happy kind.

#YourTurnChallenge #Day2 – The Elusive Flow

Day 2 of the challenge, post can be found here: http://yourturnchallenge.tumblr.com/post/108636222910/the-elusive-flow

[For the purpose of reposting, I have deliberately not looked at the grammar mistakes. Because excessive editting is my way of stalling the final product, which defeats the purpose of this challenge.]

The nature of my work, outside blogging, involves some creative thinking, space to write and strategize, ability to produce different types of writing and messaging. A fair amount of time is also spent “firefighting” – urgent issues that come up, problem solving, responding to various processes. Back home, there are two young children – enough said.

Coming into the year 2015, when I look to develop more of my work and creativity, there remains the big question of how do I find that (somewhat elusive now) state of flow. The state of flow where ideas come easily, writing happens at hours on end and progress is actually made from milestone to milestone.

I’m still experimenting on getting in touch quickly with a state of flow but it boils down to a few points for me, alternating between work meetings, corporate requirements, home needs and my own interests in blogging & reading:
◦What I love: I know I love reading and writing, yet it becomes really easy to think that other seemingly urgent activities take priority. Surprisingly, it took something like a challenge like this #YourTurnChallenge – for me to start doing daily writing. In doing so, getting into the flow while engaged in other activities seem easier. I guess on some level, I begin to feel that everyday I am doing something I love – so there is always something to look forward to.
◦What I expect: So I don’t have block of hours of end, at least based on where my current commitments are. The state of flow does not need to exist only for big blocks of time – sticking to what I expect sometimes creates boundaries that limit my ability to experience.
◦What I let go: The state of flow, as it suggests, requires some flow and movement. Things don’t move if I hold on to too much in my life – excess commitments, excess ideas about what an outcome has to look like, excess activities that can be delegated. Flow doesn’t happen when we drag our feet – weighing the tonne of clutter we strap on to ourselves.

At the end of the day, there were no intuitive steps 1, 2, 3 etc…to get to the state of flow. A lot of times, it remains elusive. But by experimenting, testing what works, I begin to listen to my inner self, become aware of my responses, notice my distractions and then slowly understand … that the state of flow isn’t just bestowed to me like an elusive gift, it is created intentionally by each concious step I take.

#YourTurnChallenge #Day1 – I lost my post

No, really, I did lose my post. It was the first day post, I was psyched to group all of them together to write about my learnings in the process and that one post that I couldn’t find really stalled all my other processes. (To clarify, it’s not about the post not being there, but my inability to search for the posts on Tumblr. It didn’t help that I couldn’t remember the title of my first point.)

Needless to say, I learnt a bunch of things just from that one experiment:
1. Save your work
Probably the most common sense thing sometimes eludes us. I always figured out that I could “do something later”, or “look at it later”. When it would have been two seconds to copy and paste the post in a document so that I can use it later for this blog. What they say about a stitch in time…well, they were right.

2. One hiccup really doesn’t stall the whole project
I delayed posting anything about my learnings or just posting all the other posts on this LMM blog because I couldn’t find Day 1’s post. It was Day 1, the start of the 7 day thread so it didn’t make sense to post the rest. It wasn’t right, because I’m not posting in order. If I couldn’t find the Day 1 post, everything else had to stop. Or not. We sometimes are quick to pull the plug, and less quick to step back, think: “maybe I can still make this way, just in a different way.”

3. Remember to applaud all efforts
I did the experiment. Shipped everyday, typed 7 posts out just as I had declared. The truth of the matter is I came up to alot of self-doubt, procrastination habits and the whole process (in one week no less) made a lot of this self-defeating habits come to light. Now that I am more aware, I can work on them. All in all, while I beat myself up on losing one day’s post to the cyber-ethers, I forget to applaud myself for all seven.

So Day 2 – 7 posts are next to come.

#YourTurnChallenge – blogging daily for a week

Seth Godin has a new book called Your Turn. And in that spawn a few activities around that – including a blogging challenge @Your Turn Challenge: http://yourturnchallenge.strikingly.com/. Blogging a post daily for a week, ie. 7 days, means committment to shipping. Nothing complicated around the process, just shipping daily. From what I understand, Seth has been blogging daily for a few years now. Yes, that means he hasn’t missed a day where he posts a blog post, for a few years.

And the act of shipping daily, really is a commitment to yourself, about constantly creating and putting it out there in the world. So if it works, if it doesn’t, we will know quickly. What can be improved, what can be worked on better, what new areas to explore, what areas to stop exploring. It becomes clearer when things get shipped, rather than when things only marinate as ideas in the head.

I opted into the challenge and have been blogging every day (it’s day 5 today). At the side, I’ve been taking notes of what has come up for me – in what I write, in where I draw inspiration, in how I get myself distracted, in how I address tiny commitments. It’s day 5 and I am already seeing much feedback to what and how I do things (not just writing), just for the act of posting a blog a day for 7 days, that my mind is really blown. So more on that once I complete the challenge. The operative word being “once”, not “if”.

An unexplained hiatus

I took an unexplained hiatus from the LMM blog. Unexplained, because as with many things in life, it seemed to just “catch up” with me.

So where did it lead me to and why am I back?

The truth is, the longer I was away, the more excuses I had in staying away.

We sometimes are able to convince ourselves that our dreams aren’t worth it. And that we have to know the destination, to know where we are every step of the way, before taking the first step.

And that roundabout then happened all in my head.  What stories do we tell ourselves? Deciding to skip that one post was one moment, blaming myself over and over again, finding reasons and then avoiding reasons, replaying stories in my head – that happened for a lot longer after that.

The decision to skip that regular post happened in one instant.  The decision to come back can happen in another instant.  And that’s just it.  If the need to write is greater than the need to hide, the love what we create is greater than what we are afraid of – it then all boils down to one moment of decision.

One moment. One instant. In the present.  Fully immersed.  And we go on to truly live, magic moment to new magic moment.

It’s good to be back.

What is your mess response?

How do you respond to “mess”?  In this case, uncertainty, unpredictability, unknown or without (perceived) order – basically anything in front of you that is beyond your experience or prior knowledge, hence, it becomes something you “don’t know how to handle”.

I’d used to think that it was just that the country I was born and grew up in was so structure (and somewhat manicured) that everything needed to be predictable for me.  But I realise it could happen anywhere else, because of the social conditioning (“new territory is unsafe”), family conditioning (“study hard, take a ‘good’ job and settle down”) or friends (“why do you want to be different”).  It took me really long to realise that taking risks is what allows to grow, and not taking risks stifles us.  And I can see why.  Anything outside what we know looks like “mess”, there is no order, a fear of the unknown prevents us from exploring, which keeps our circle of experiences small such that the next encounter that comes by is forcefully made to fit to what we know so that it would not appear “messy”.

And so responding to mess or allowing myself to step forward despite not seeing all the pieces laid out in front of me – is somewhat an on-going lesson.  My most reliable feedback is looking at how I typically respond to mess, identifying the pattern and then making the conscious choice to face whatever I need to that doesn’t look structured (yet) to me.

So let me count the ways that we typically respond to mess.

Shut down, blank out, run away

All systems do not respond.  No reaction, no movement, even dropping everything and leaving it.  This is with the faint and futile hope that the mess would somehow “go away” or resolve itself.  Maybe it does, maybe it just grows and sometimes it evolves.  Either way, you won’t know, because you are not even daring to look at the mess.

Let me order it!

The messier it gets, the more there is to organize. Every mess can be compartmentalize to a few categories, then taken down bite-size bit by bit.  The elusive dream is that once organized, it is no longer a mess.  More time to spend on ‘organizing’ an impossible puzzle, and not enough time looking at what the puzzle brings.

Resignation, letting the crowd push you about

At least you are somewhat looking at the mess, though not really identifying with it.  It’s fate, it’s the environment, it’s the circumstance, it’s just something that happens to you (again and again).  Just standing there in the mess, you may get pushed around and move some place, but it sure won’t be where you are looking to go.  And it doesn’t sound any less messier.

Frozen, and not about letting it go

Just rooted on the spot, like a deer in headlights.  The mess paralyzes you because you don’t see the few steps ahead, so you don’t dare to take just one of those steps that you do see.  Unlike the Disney movie Frozen, there is a whole lot of holding on tight and not enough letting go.  In this case, I’m not sure if the strain of not being able to move or the self-imposed fear of moving will get to you first.


I recognize that I have had all four at different parts of my life, though I often gravitate to the “Let me order it!” and “Frozen” quite a fair bit.  To choose a different approach, I ask myself two questions:

1. Am I ok with mess?

And if I don’t feel like saying yes, there is already something I am resisting and not willing to look. Perhaps the mess is well…very unstructured, perhaps I don’t know how.  Being ok with it means I will be able to get to where I want to get, despite not knowing how.  It means looking for the why and being ok with anything that comes.  I recognize this state by a feeling of groundedness, being centred in myself and when I look forward to “leaps of faith”.

2. Can I surrender to the mess?

Surrender involves vulnerability – in my resistance, there is often something I want to be right about.  Though whatever that it, it often is not relevant to the mess at hand.  Surrender is also not about expecting the mess to look a certain way.  Why should it? If it’s something beyond what I have experienced, I wouldn’t know what to expect to look.  While the answer is always “I can”, the act of asking the question often reminds me that I don’t have to put too many definitions on to what I cannot define at the moment.


On a scale of 0 to 10, 10 being the most vulnerable, open, comfortable with mess and uncertainty, I’d rate myself a 2.  I don’t know when the impetus hit me to really start looking within.  It could have been that I have been stuck for a long time, that I have tried everything I knew.  It could have also been that I knew this was not the way to live, structured and always in a little box.  It could have been that I didn’t want my kids to grow up losing who they are when every single day, they are all about living wholeheartedly, jumping heart first instead of head first.  It could also be that I myself wanted to experience what is to live wholeheartedly, jumping heart first instead of head first.  And for all that, I knew that if I was ok with mess, it was only because I was ok with me.