Everyone can be productive


I am super excited to be part of the launch team for Michael Sliwinski’s upcoming book: 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity #10stepsbook


How did I become part of this launch team?

Those who have worked closely with me know that I was (still am) one of the least organized folks out there. I try my best to follow those 5S policies but always end up cluttering my workspace. I have a really bad memory, so have a tendency to forget things. I have a hard time saying no and end up with too much on my plate.

Yes, I am aware of these limitations of mine. However, I am consoled by the fact that:

“It’s hard even for a naturally organized person not to get lost without a good productivity system.” #10stepsbook

So, instead of fretting and giving up, or trying to fix myself, I decided to place support systems to help me overcome this limitation and become productive:

  • I put down everything on my Google Calendar, including personal appointments
  • I use Evernote to keep references for easier retrieval
  • And, of course, I use Nozbe to keep track of my tasks and projects

I don’t have to be naturally organized to be productive. I just have to be really determined to make the best use of my time… so I can have more time for the essentials.

The Strengths Of An MVP

Westbrook grabs a rebound, rushes full steam ahead with reckless abandon and jams over everybody. Harden fakes then dances oh-so-smoothly into the paint, bam, and-one. Kawhi strips his opponent for the easy deuce… he strips him yet again for another jam and rushing back to defense with that familiar stoic reaction.  Isaiah gets the ball hand-off, gets in the lane, bounces-off like a ping-pong ball amongst the giants and still makes that incredible left lay-up.
This year’s NBA MVP race is pretty close — with a bunch of new contenders.

Nope, I will not be predicting my winner today.

If not that, then what is this about?

Today, we will be playing #GuessTheStrengths with these MVP candidates.

The #GuessTheStrengths series is my personal interpretation (guess?) of people’s talent themes based on nothing but assumptions. There is absolutely NO science involved in this. It is simply a fun (yes, I’m a geek!) experience for me, as a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, to practice my understanding of the different talent themes, albeit based solely on the outward appearance. If you want to know your top five talent themes, I suggest taking the assessment at the Gallup Strengths Center and contacting me over at my Calendly page for a totally FREE 30-min consultation.

The King in the Fourth

There are two talent themes that I see in Isaiah Thomas, The King in the Fourth.

The first is #Positivity.

Positivity® People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.

Now, I am not sure what “really” went on during draft night but he says he kept believing. Yes, there was a bit of despair during the last few picks but that is not uncommon. Another statement that showed me this positivity was when he was asked about being picked last and he said, “I was happy because I always told myself that all I ever wanted was a chance. No matter if I was drafted first or last, I just wanted to get drafted because I knew if I got the opportunity, I would take advantage of it no matter what.” To have this kind of optimism and be that energetic about being picked last is a trait that most people with #Positivity have.

The other talent theme I see if #Significance.

Significance® People strong in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.

I see this in his fourth quarter dominance, rising up to the occasion when he is most needed. This statement about his bad defense shows how he takes negative comment to push himself to outstanding performance and become important in the eyes of others, “… every time that he hears people say that, then that makes that chip on his shoulder grow.”

Related articles:

The Klaw

Stoic. Quiet. No nonsense. No emotions.

These words fit Kawhi perfectly which is why I saw the talent theme of #Intellection right away. Yes, it’s not easy to tell if someone appreciates intellectual discussions without being part of their clique. However, there’s enough written about his introversion, being a loner and deep thoughts — including about his being a cheap skate — to make me think he might be leading with this talent theme.

Intellection® People strong in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

Other talent themes I saw in Kawhi are #Achiever and #Focus.

Achiever® People strong in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.
Focus TM People strong in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.

I saw these in his on-court performance, relentless on both defense and offense (tireless, strong work ethic and hungry are descriptors for those with the Achiever talent theme) coupled with his disciplined and laser-like precision. This was also evident in how he was able to fix his jump shot even after just a few sessions with Chip “The Shot Whisperer” Engelland. Daily workouts with a trainer / coach is hard enough, but to go about it on his own (because of the lockout) is a totally different level of discipline and work ethic.

Related articles:

The Beard

When I think of Harden, I see two talent themes in play, #Adaptability and #Includer.

Adaptability® People strong in the Adaptability theme prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.

This was evident in how he was able to adjust from being a sixth-man to a true All-Star. Often there is a power struggle when a talented individual plays along with other superstars, two in his case. I did not see this when he was with OKC. Yet, when the spotlight fell on him, he quickly became comfortable with that change. Again, there have been others who tried to take on a bigger role and completely failed.

Includer® People strong in the Inclusiveness theme are accepting of others. They show awareness of those who feel left out, and make an effort to include them.

It looks like Harden leads with this. I saw this when I read about the players-only mini camp that he organized where a teammate said, “We got to get together. Get to know each other, team camaraderie.” It felt as he wanted to invite others in and to engage with them.

Side-note: The conflict with Dwight may seem to contradict his Includer talent theme. However, I saw this more as basement* behaviours that people with #Significance (recognition hungry, self-focused, needy) and #Command (bossy, domineering, strong-willed) sometimes have. 

Related articles:


Ok, I have to front here. Westbrook is my bet for MVP. Why? Because of the #Competition talent theme that I see every time he is on the court.

Competition® People strong in the Competition theme measure their progress against the performance of others. They strive to win first place and revel in contests.

Yes, I suffer from a case of Strengths Envy here, as Competition is 29th on my list! 

That driven, motivated and win-at-all-cost attitude is just a marvel to watch. 40-plus minutes of pure intensity. Wow!

That’s why I also see the #Activator talent theme in him.

Activator® People strong in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.

Westrook is definitely fearless, a fire-starter and an energy source. Not only that, he definitely shows some of the basement behaviours of this theme as well, i.e. being a ready-fire-aim or loose cannon.

Lastly, and I just added this after I read Kanter’s article, I see the #Command talent theme.

Command® People strong in the Command theme have presence. They can take control of a situation and make decisions.

I especially saw this when he wrote these two statements:

And, I have to tell you … it really just sets the tone for the team. Russ is our leader, and guys follow his example.

It’s more that he has made our team … Russ-er.

Related articles:

Different Strokes For Different Folks

One thing I want to highlight in this (and future) #GuessTheStrengths articles is that there is no single blueprint to success.

As these contenders displayed, we can be great in our own unique ways.

If want to be great in your own way and want to know what talent themes drive you, take the assessment over at the Gallup Strengths Center and get in touch with me for a FREE coaching session.

* Balconies: These are the positive characteristics of a talent theme
* Basements: These are the vulnerabilities of a talent theme that can manifest when misused or mismanaged
For more StrengthsFinder short descriptions, visit http://www.coachrye.com/description-of-34-talents.

Don’t let ’em weigh you down

If you had a choice, would you

  • define yourself based on those who reject you and put you down?
  • or focus your attention on those who care and look out for your best?

Yes, you have a choice.

Going through life carrying those who think you’ll never be good enough is an unnecessary burden that will eventually weigh you down.

Let them go.

Yes, you have a choice. Make it!





Iterative Personal Development

Iterative development is a way of breaking down the software development of a large application into smaller chunks. In iterative development, feature code is designed, developed and tested in repeated cycles.


Options and choices are great… but sometimes there are simply too many of ’em that they start to overwhelm us to the point of inaction.

Prayers can help. Asking mentors can help. Taking time off to refocus can also help.

But in the end, it still boils down on you. You have to do something.

Pick a path and move along.

How do I know which one to pick?

You can sorting them by risks or sort them by possible rewards. You can pick the quickest, easiest entry point or you can pick the one with the best possible gain. Heck, you can do random selection.

How do I know it’s the right choice?

You don’t. I mean, you wouldn’t be stuck in the first place if you knew.

So go ahead, pick a path and move along.

If it doesn’t work out, pick another path and move along.

Don’t get stuck! Keep moving.

Oops! Don’t Jump!

I wrote about making the JUMP off the corporate ladder a couple of months ago.

As I reflected on this some more, I realized that I made a mistake: DO NOT JUMP!

No, I am not regretting my decision already. I just realized that I did not actually jump off myself.

Slide Off

For those who have been asking me for tips about making the jump, here’s my piece of advice: Don’t Jump, Slide Off!

If you do not know exactly what you want to do. Don’t jump. Oh! So you know what you want to do, but have not trained and gotten experience on it. Don’t jump! You’re ready and confident. Great. Wait, have you built your network? No? Don’t jump! Everything’s set-up. Great! What’s your exit strategy? Hmmm.. Read on.

What To Do

Jumping without knowing what you’ll do next is fine if you don’t have anybody counting on you, or if have a rich spouse or huge inheritance. Otherwise, it is simply irresponsible.

Exactly what it is you will do, will depend on you.

It might be cliché to say find something that you love to do, but this can be really important. The journey, as I’ve mentioned, can sometimes be difficult and uncertain, so actually enjoying the journey makes it easier to ride through the waves.

To be clear, this is NOT a requirement as others have claimed to becoming successful doing something that was not really their passion at the start.

What’s important is you have something specific in mind.

Training & Relevant Experience

I took a course cooking and restaurant management. I got a certification on Social Media management. I took a Masters in Entrepreneurship.

That’s great! Is that enough for people to trust you?

I came across a term while working with a fellow trainer on a presentation: MRC. Minimum Required Credibility.

Are those diplomas and certificate enough to get you over that MRC? In other words, will folks trust you with their business just because you have classroom knowledge? Honestly, the answer is not likely. People want to see that you have actually applied these knowledge in the real world.

You might ask, “How do I do that while balancing a day job?” As my mentor once said, “if there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Ask a friend who owns restaurant if you could “sit-in” and observe on weeknights or, maybe work some hours on weekdays. Apply in one of those freelancing sites (freelancer.com, etc). Start a small home-based business. Take a side job.

Who You Know

Some say, it’s not what you know but who you know.

Personally, I would not go that far. Your friends will not (and should not) stick out their necks for you just because.

However, I also believe that you must have built a network in the field that you plan to slide into for you to be successful. Without the necessary network, it would be a tougher for you and your business to gain traction. You need to build a network of your possible customers, or at least those who can influence or introduce you to your future customers.

Note: Don’t hate on your friends and family who do not actively refer you. I’m sure their have their reasons. On the other hand, be grateful to those who trust you with their referral.

Exit Strategy

“There’s no reason to have a plan B because it distracts from plan A.”
“I’m not much of a planner. I set a goal and there really is nothing else… no plan B.”
“You can’t have a plan B if you want to succeed. Plan A is the ONLY way!”

Nice quotes but these is just like that “You complete me!” crap from Jerry Maguire. Great sound bites but could be catastrophic if followed blindly.

Those are great if you have nothing to lose, if you are down on your luck. However, we are talking about sliding off the corporate ladder here. This assumes that you are coming from something and you actually have something to lose. Taking a risk is commendable, but make them calculated risks please.

Here are some questions to prepare you: How do I know if things are not working? What are the things in my control that I can do to change the plan, not the goal? How long will my current savings last? How do I know that it is time to change the goal?

Bonus Tip for those in Relationships: Get your spouses and significant others involved from Day 1. Getting their support is crucial. After all, such a huge change in your lifestyle will definitely have an effect on them as well. Besides, by getting them on board, you automatically have your support group.

Move Forward

These steps were deliberately described to be simplistic, but there are definitely more things to be considered depending on your personal situation.

Move forward with caution but, more importantly, move forward.