Archives for the month of: June, 2016

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On a mission she was…..

as she has learned that giving feels so much better than receiving……

her employer now about to give birth to her third child, she wanted to do as much as she possibly could to help……

the two women have built trust and a great bond as they both have so much in common.

They are both resilient, courageous and loving to their children and partner.

Her employer is about to give birth to her third child. She has three sons. More similarity!

They are both from Asian countries and can relate to each other on so many topics of life. They both want similar things from life and have the same values.

The two women spent a good part of the afternoon chatting about what is important to them. What a great bonding day!

She felt like she had been given a little sister, a little sister that she never had.

She was so protective of her little sister and her two sons, as any good sister would.

Girls having fun just chatting and having some simple food for lunch whilst the two young boys played with each other.

Life can be so much fun with the simple things. No fuss over the materialistic things that we can be so caught up with in this digital age.

Or the brand names of clothes, shoes and make up! They are merely to distract us from what we truly want from life!

The two girls are smart and they know how to use their money wisely!

Thats wisdom that comes from life experiences!

Three cheers to wisdom!

Three cheers to life experiences!

Three cheers to sisters!

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What do we gain from effective communication?

The quality of our life is determined by the way we communicate with others. What we get from life is also determined by how we communicate with others. That is what I have learned from my five years of consistent personal development.

Those who are blunt with their communication rarely get what they want because I was blunt too, until I learned to communicate differently.

My relationships with my three sons, parents, friends and others improved dramatically when I adopted a more effective way of communication.  I have been getting more of what I want nowadays from my brilliant and effective communication skills.

I had a strong vision to become a public speaker whilst recovering from the sudden lose of my big brother. I read about joining Toastmasters to realise my dream that I had written down as my long term goal at the beginning of this year.

I was very fortunate to have found Toastmasters after reading “Make a Great Speech” by Jackie Arnold. I picked up the title from visiting the huge book store named Foyles in London with my sweetheart back in November 2015.

I attended a number of Toastmasters meetings on a weekly basis at the beginning of January.  I finally decided to join The Clyde Communicators Club at the end of February which was set up in January. I knew that joining a new club would be more beneficial for me as I could relate to our new members more compared to the other more established club which I had attended. The more established club had many advanced speakers whom I could not relate to and that meant I was unable to build a connection with them.

I quickly settled into my Toastmasters club and felt I had found my niche after losing a huge part of myself after losing my dearest big brother who was my one and only lifetime companion. I took on weekly roles to help run the club smoothly and I learned many new skills within our club and found my self confidence on stage.

I loved the educational system that Toastmasters has in place to help and support their members to make slow yet great progress as they work through their two workbooks when they join as members. Members work at their own pace and they have the support of a mentor within the club who is there for them from the beginning.

We are sent regular updates about our club’s meetings via emails and this is a great way to stay in touch. We are also sent a monthly magazine to keep us up to date with what is happening at Toastmasters worldwide.

I attended our area speech contest back in April and picked up many valuable skills for delivering the best speech ever. We have national and international speech contests that we could attend too. I am seriously considering attending the November one in Ireland to continue learning and meet new people who have similar goals as me.

I took the opportunity of delivering my first prepared speech in March,  when a club member was unable to deliver their speech due to unexpected circumstances.  I had only one day to prepare for my speech yet that was no problem for me. I knew what I wanted to talk about and what to include into my speech. The speech has an allocated time of seven minutes and it was my first experience ever of having a group of people paying full attention at what I was about to share with them.

I was fortunate to have gained many valuable skills during my personal development that helped me to be confident on stage and I received great positive and encouraging feedback from all the members who fills in a evaluation form. This allows us to see what we did well during our speech and what we could do to improve.

For my second prepared speech, I worked on it for three months as I wanted to put more effort into it. I found it rather difficult to talk about the important things in my speech and what to leave out. I also needed to organise my speech which was my project objective that we follow from our Competent Communication Manual.

Three months of planning, preparing and practicing yet only seven minutes of allocated time to deliver our speech. There is a Chinese saying that goes something like this “one minute on stage, ten years off it”. I realised what it meant after I delivered my second prepared speech last Tuesday evening.

There are loads to remember whilst delivering a speech and our nerves can and does get the better of us when we are not aware of how to handle them constructively.

I felt rather calm and collected as I was about to deliver my first prepared speech back in March. However, I was feeling so nervous as I was walking to our meeting last Tuesday evening. I used affirmations to calm my nerves. I also used deep breathing to gather my thoughts.

I missed out on a few sentences that I had practiced at home for over a month yet it was not important because I felt I had achieved my objective from our manual. As it was my second speech, I was willing to forgive myself for the tiny mistakes and errors. I am still a baby learning to walk on the stage at Toastmasters. Being too harsh on myself would only have a negative impact on my future speeches.

I thoroughly enjoyed being on stage for the time I took to deliver my speech which was just over six minutes.

I had inspired my audience with my speech and I felt so proud of my huge achievement!

Every member who delivers a prepared speech gets their feedback from the person who evaluated their speech on the evening. The evaluator fills in a section of our Competent Communication manual in relation to the speech project. There are ten speech projects for members to work through and when we complete all ten projects, we are presented with a special name badge.

The exact same happens when we take on roles within our meetings to help run the evening smoothly. Our leadership skills develops from taking on different roles to help our Toastmaster of the evening get the meetings off the ground.

Everything we do at Toastmasters is evaluated and this helps us to improve and become a better Toastmaster.

We learn by doing and the only way to know how well we are doing is by receiving feedback from our fellow club members.

My third prepared speech is scheduled for the beginning of August and I entered into our Humourous Speech Contest which takes place at the beginning of September. There are lots of planning, preparing and practicing to get on with and that excites me!

Our club was chartered and we had a celebration dinner this month with our members to celebrate our success. The first twenty members who joined received their Charter certificate and I was fortunate to receive mine!

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I am excited about my future at Toastmasters as I am learning so much and making consistent progress. I have been so blessed to have found such a supportive club to help me realise my long term goal!

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What do you love about public transport?  For me, it is always the opportunity to talk to strangers. I have an added bonus of being a people person so I get to talk to more people. I am multi-lingual and that is more of a bonus. I speak fluent Cantonese and Hakka, therefore I get to speak to a lot more people than the average Glaswegain. I understand basic Mandarin and I am able to chat to Mandarin speakers on basic things. What a great talent I have!

I got talking to a mature woman at Central station last week with her Golden Retriever, named Finlay and I loooooveeeee dogs and asked to have a photo taken with Finlay and the woman was more than pleased to oblige. Hehe

I was chatting to a woman yesterday morning after I picked up what I needed from my local supermarket. She had her down to a TV magazine in hand so I asked her what was on TV this evening and that started our conversation. I learned that this woman has a 40 something year old son and from her looks, she came across as a 5o something year old. Far too young to have a 40 something year old son. Hehe

I was on the bus heading home after my weekly Toastmasters meeting a few weeks ago and heard a man shout (with much delight) that he saves his money from his concession card and uses it to drink in the pub. I found it rather funny that he shared this with his fellow passengers and started a conversation with those who were willing to chat with him.

One of the many benefits of travelling on public transport for me is the time to think of ideas for my Toastmasters speeches. As I am in the presence of the public and exposed to all sorts of unexpected circumstances, I have everything at my disposal for speeches. I write down what I want to speak about on my phone so that it is saved. My mind is awakened to all the possibilities to deliver my future speeches. I also get many ideas of what to include into each speech.

Another benefit of travelling by public transport is, I get the time to read my current non fiction book on my travels to and from my destination. This saves me time to do other tasks at home.

I remember when I was a driver and how boring it was driving to and from each of my destinations. I would not have the opportunity to chat with anyone nor would I get to enjoy the scenery. I had the radio or other form of music in the car to keep me company yet it was nothing compared to being surrounded by fellow passengers. The fun of witnessing all sorts of funny things that happens on public transport is priceless! Yes, public transport does take longer, it is rather time consuming and at the best of times, unreliable, yet there are a number of benefits to it when we have a positive mental attitude.

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The fun I get to have on public transport is never available if I was driving. In Glasgow, Scotland, where I live, we are ever so friendly so we love to have a chat with anyone about absolutely anything. Our unpredictable weather is the best topic ever to start a conversation with a stranger and it breaks the ice.

I love to speak to people of all ages, all walks of life, from all parts of the world. If I hear that their accent is from a foreign land, I shall ask them in a polite manner where they are from and point out that their accent gave me the clue that they are not local. This is a great opportunity to learn from other people’s culture and country.

I love to sit on the upper deck of a bus if I am in a double decker. The scenery from the upper deck is priceless as drivers miss out on this amazing opportunity to see our city from a different angle.

I love children and will chat with young children whenever I get the opportunity to yet the younger ones always seem to be frightened by my direct approach. Hehe

This afternoon’s bus journey with Calvin, my youngest son was another opportunity to witness how public transport is full of surprises. Our bus was full with passengers heading out for their Saturday fun and I heard a man talk loudly. He then walked towards the driver to wait to get off at a set of traffic lights and started singing at the top of his voice. He had one earphone in and sounded happy. I heard a woman who was standing on the stairs also waiting to get  off the bus say something like “oh he has lots of energy”!

On our way home we sat at the front of the upper deck to get a better view of the scenery. Two young boys came to join us with their mother who kept picking up their faults and was telling them off. She just couldn’t get her two young sons to behave and she was definitely not about to succeed with the way she was communicating with them. I observed the mother’s interaction with her sons for a while, before I made the choice to talk to her sons to distract them from misbehaving. I found out from chatting with the boys, that they were so excited to be at the front of the upper deck, especially the younger one and that’s why he was extra hyper. No wonder the mother could not get him to behave. She had missed this important fact as she was so focused on wanting her sons to behave.

There are days when I want my own space and keep myself to myself and I put my earphones on to listen to music on the bus. I get tired from being around people for any length of time, so I tend to want my own space after such occasion and having my meditation music on my phone helps me to recharge.

All in all, I have learned to love public transport for all the unexpected surprises that come my way everything I am on board!

 

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I saw something I had never seen before during this week’s Toastmasters meeting which was another opportunity for learning.

Our advanced speaker, Dee who is our founder of our club and the woman who never struggles to deliver her speeches, got stumped with a difficult question during Table Topics.  Our Table Topics Master and members were finding it rather funny and I was very intrigued.

For an advanced speaker to struggle to deliver their speech is something I have never witnessed and to see it in person showed me even the greatest have their challenges and struggles.

Dee said during her speech, “I am not doing very well with this question” which is one of the things we are taught NOT to say when we are struggling.

I saw Dee was composed and confident whilst she struggled to answer her question, which shows she has a solid foundation.

My second prepared speech which I delivered on this evening, mentioned the benefits of building a solid foundation.

I learned from my five years of personal development,  that in order to get what we want from life, we need to build a solid foundation.

I see who has a solid foundation and who is lacking it, merely from observing them whilst they are on stage at Toastmasters.

Many of them who came to Toastmasters at the beginning have not been committing to attending regular meetings due to their weak and fragile foundation.

It is our solid foundation that gets us through the toughest times and life’s set backs.

Without this key element, we crumble at the slightest hick up, set back and challenge that life throws at us.

We lack what it takes to get what we want from life without a solid foundation.

It is quite alright to struggle with life’s difficult questions, set backs, hick ups, challenges and traumas.

We have grit, resiliency, mental and emotional strength to help us through the crappy days where we could easily give up.

It is so much easier to give up in times of struggle. It is so much easier to say “oh why bother as this is so damn difficult”!

Things are difficult before they become easy. No one was born with the ability to walk, talk, run, read or write. We all had to learn those skills and each of those skills took time. It took more than a week or a month. Yet we finally got there.

The majority of people who struggle with life’s challenges give up because they lack the solid foundation to see them through their struggles.

Dee on the other hand, has come through many struggles to set up our now chartered club and her vision has given us, the members,  the strength to continue making consistent progress to achieve our goals within Toastmasters.

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After months of waiting and apprehension, I finally booked our flights to Hong Kong for October!

It materilised from the vision board I had made two years ago.

I had longed to be able to fly to my birthplace with my immediate family for quite some time.

This is a great opportunity as I shall be surrounded with my immediate and extended family as well as my sweetheart and his family. What fun!

It shall be a noisy and busy occasion yet well worth the effort as I have an elderly aunt who deserves to get my time.

There is so much to look forward to and lots of happy memories created that shall be with us forever.

Then, there is sadness because my big brother would have loved to be able to join us in the fun! He loves to eat and that’s what we do when we fly back to Hong Kong.

We have breakfast, lunch and dinner with family.

The food is on offer all over Hong Kong for such a cheap price almost 24/7. We are so spoiled for choice.

However, there is a gargantuan load of sacrifices that we choose to make in order to create the happy memories with our family.

First we endure a long haul flight of 16 hours to land in Hong Kong. Then is the huge discomfort of the pollution and overcrowding in Hong Kong which is something we never had any issues with here in Glasgow, Scotland.

Due to the size of both my own and my sweetheart’s extended family, there is the hectic schedule all day, everyday of catching up with all our family members and doing things with them.

We are exposed to air conditioning in all indoor areas due to the heat and windows are not opened due to the high levels of pollution. Therefore, fresh air is in very short supple.

We shall be shopping for things to bring back home which shall take much of our energy from us.

We want to enjoy some of Hong Kong scenery and areas of interests which means our feet shall be killed with all the walking.

A pair of comfortable shoes or two is a must as well as my water, portable fan and protein bars to keep me fuelled is essential as my metabolism is so strong.

It pays to be prepared for what I am getting myself in for in order to feel as comfortable as possible, thousands of miles away from home!

Hong Kong, a buzzing city full of life yet, it is my last choice for a holiday because I know rest is the last thing that we shall be getting.

I strongly dislike travelling in the MTR in Hong Kong due to the huge crowds. Pushing and shoving is the norm otherwise, we shall never get to our destination. Being polite in Hong Kong gets you NOWHERE!

One needs to be aggresive and bold!………Or else, YOU suffer the consequences!

I am still feeling happy to be able to fly to my birthplace especially in October as the weather in Glasgow becomes dull and cooler. Then our clock goes back an hour at the end of October so our moods shall be lifted up.