Monthly Archives: February 2021

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Hike and Tooth

Today is the last day of February.

Today we went on our only hike of the month. It was at Francis/King Regional Park. We went with the Kwasnicas and Griffin’s little buddy, Cater.

Francis/King

Also, Griffin lost his first tooth today.

First tooth out.
Up and coming.

Kind of a big day to wrap up February. Hope March will be a good one too.

The Ride of a Lifetime

Today I finished Bob Iger’s book: The Ride of a Lifetime – Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. I enjoyed it very much. Now I can’t look at another Disney movie without thinking about Iger’s journey. Similar to how I shared Bob’s 10 principles to true leadership when I first started reading this book, I’m going to share some highlights from his Appendix on Lessons to Lead by:

  • Now more than ever: innovate or die. There can be no innovation if you operate out of fear of the new.
  • Excellence and fairness don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Strive for perfection but always be aware of the pitfalls of caring only about the product and never the people.
  • True integrity – a sense of knowing who you are and being guided by your own clear sense of right and wrong – is a kind of secret leadership weapon.
  • Value ability more than experience, and put people in roles that require more of them than they know they have in them.
  • Don’t be in the business of playing it safe. Be in the business of creating possibilities for greatness.
  • Don’t let ambition get ahead of opportunity. …… It’s important to know how to find the balance – do the job you have well; be patient; look for opportunities to pitch in and expand and grow; and make yourself one of the people, through attitude and energy and focus, whom your bosses feel they have to turn to when an opportunity arises.
  • Pessimism leads to paranoia, which leads to defensiveness, which leads to risk aversion.
  • Treating others with respect is an undervalued currency when it comes to negotiating. A little respect goes a long way, and the absence of it can be very costly.
  • What people think of you is what they’ll think of your company.
  • When hiring, try to surround yourself with people who are good in addition to being good at what they do. Genuine decency – an instinct for fairness and openness and mutual respect – is a rarer commodity in business than it should be, and you should look for it in the people you hire and nurture it in the people who work for you.
  • If you’re in the business of making something, be in the business of making something great.
  • Hold on to your awareness of yourself, even as the world tells you how important and powerful you are.

I look forward to introducing my kids to read this book. There are so many lessons in this book for everyone.

A Talk about Light Years

Today was Serena’s turn to be the Special Helper of her class. The theme of this third round of Special Helpers is We Are Scientists! Students are encouraged to bring in something Science-related to share with the class. Serena chose to do a presentation on space. Since the topic of space is too broad, we landed on something specific and explainable within the allowed time: light years.

I criticized Serena for leaving this to the last minute to prepare last night. Hope she’ll learn the lesson and start the prep work much earlier for future projects. For a last minute project, I thought she did a fantastic job. I might have been a little bit hands-on in this project, but she could use the help. Here is the PowerPoint slides Anya and I helped her put together.

Ms. Mcintyre said she did an astounding job and shared the video of her presentation on FreshGrade. Seeing Serena gives a presentation in front of her classmates gave me so many feels!

So proud of her.

Reunited

Today was Day 15 of our quarantine. I was planning on running over to my in-laws to surprise the kids. The plan was still valid until we got about 25cm of snow overnight. Since I haven’t left the house in the last 14 days, I couldn’t wait any longer to get out. It took about an hour to walk to my in-laws, and it was incredible to see and hug my love ones. Serena and Griffin were super happy to see me. Their excitement made me teary eyed. It was so nice to hug and kiss Anya again. I’ve missed her touches. My eternal gratefulness to my in-laws, who supported us tremendously through this weird and difficult time.

Loved and blessed.

My walk to see family
Hugging the kids for the first time after quarantine
Shoveling my in-laws’ driveway

Quarantine Day 12

I came across the same image as yesterday’s What Makes a Good Data Visualization from the Information is Beautiful website. This one is used to display Ikigai:

Ikigai

According to the Wikipedia, Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”. The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one’s life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.

Here are other views of Ikigai in the more traditional look of Venn diagram:

Ikigai2
Ikigai3
Ikigai4

Ikigai is a great concept in finding purpose and happiness in life. It is what gets us up every morning and keeps us going. It was said that if we can find pleasure and satisfaction in what we do and we are good at it, we have found our Ikigai. Having an awareness of Ikigai, I hope to find mine one day.

Reference:

Quarantine Day 11

I came across this visualization today called, What makes a good visualization? on informationisbeautiful.net.

What Makes a Good Visualization by David McCandless

David makes the point that to have a successful visualization, one’d need to have all four essential elements: information (data), story (concept), goal (function) and visual form (metaphor). Missing one of the four would make our visualizations less effective. For example, if mixing only data and visual form, visualizations are artsy, but not useful. If mixing only data and story, visualizations follows a script, but with no purpose. Data with only goals, visualizations display a plot, but not exciting. It’s only when data is combined with story, goal and visual form, visualizations come to life.

Interesting concepts. I’ll have to keep these in mind when building future visualizations.

Reference: MaCandless, David. What Makes a Good Visualization? https://informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/what-makes-a-good-data-visualization/

Quarantine Day 10

Four more days to go. It’s so close, yet it seems so far away.

Mom is lovely. I cherish every moment with her. But damn, I miss my kids. I miss hugging them. I miss my wife. I miss kissing her. I even miss Holly and her nutty face.

Almost there. Four more days.

I kept myself busy every hour of the day. Here is the distraction for today:

Five most important lessons from COVID-19 according to leading Canadian experts in disease control and epidemiology:

  1. Socio-economic and health inequities have made some people more vulnerable.
  2. Canada’s division of health-care responsibilities is inefficient.
  3. Centralized decision-making in health care stifles innovation.
  4. Lack of coordination stymied research.
  5. Good messaging and communication matter.

Great points, especially the last one.

Reference: Five big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19. Jan 26, 2021

Quarantine Day 9

Tom Brady! Tampa Bay Buccaneers!! The winners of the 55th Super Bowl!!! What a game! I watched the game from the beginning to the end. I’ve never watched a complete Super Bowl game before. Since we are in quarantine, I figured why not. I probably won’t get a chance to watch another complete Super Bowl game anyway. The Buccaneers’ defence was really something. They completely shut down the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes looked like a high-schooler trying to play with the pros. And this is the champ from last year! It just goes to show how great Brady is.

Tom Brady has definitely established himself as the GOAT in the NFL: 7 Super Bowl wins, 10 Super Bowl appearances, and 5 Super Bowl MVP, among other impressive football stats. The guy left his previous team, the New England Patriots, to join the Buccaneers in March of 2020. Within not even a year, Tom not only put this team on the map to be one of the contenders of the Super Bowl, but also won it all in the end while being the Super Bowl MVP. I mean, talk about individual excellence and the ability to influence others. Apparently he made a players only speech in the locker room right before the game. I wonder how that speech was. I don’t know that much about football, but I can see the parallels in other sports. Michael Jordan and LeBron James in basketball stood out for me. Like Brady, they did not only produce results on an individual level, but also impacted and influenced people around them to achieve outstanding performance, sometimes even more than what others could realize on their own.

I aspire to be like these athletes. I’m turning 40 this year, so I wouldn’t have a chance in the sports arena to be impactful. However, as a father to my children and a coworker to my colleagues, I believe I have what it takes to influence and lead by example.

Quarantine Day 8

We are now passed the half way mark of our 14-day mandatory quarantine. Mom and I are blessed that we are healthy and have no ill symptoms. Another week to go.

It was a sunny day today. Last week, my good friend David reminded me about spraying the fruit trees. I looked up the quarantine rules and that it’s okay for me to go out to my backyard as it’s a closed private property. Therefore, it was a perfect day for spraying. David advised to only spray the pear, plum, cherry and apple trees. They were more susceptible to bugs than other fruit trees on the property: fig, apricot and black currant. The spray was mixed from dormant oil and sulfur; a package I had purchased from GardenWorks last year in preparation of this winter’s spray. Since this is my first year spraying the trees, David warned me that the spray was stinky and to avoid getting it on my clothes. I was wearing two masks and was still able to smell how stinky it was. Following David’s advice, I was covered from head to toe, to prevent splashes and stains. I didn’t take any pictures. I was also told that it’s best for the fruit trees to soak in the oil spray for the next 24 hours.

The weather report said it wouldn’t rain until Sunday afternoon. I’m hoping the weather team was right.

Quarantine Day 7

There are highs and lows in life. Today was a low day.

I really messed up a role play session at my Crucial Conversations training today. We were given a scenario and asked to play our assigned roles to practice applying one of the techniques for creating a safe environment to foster a mutual purpose. I wasn’t confident in applying the technique, so I skimmed over the scenario and spent more time understanding how the steps within the technique could be used. I did a terrible job at the role play. I had completely missed the premise that I was an HR professional trying to come up workarounds for a missed target, and my solution was to schedule a meeting with HR to discuss options. My role play partners were like, but you are HR! It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my professional life. I couldn’t believe I bombed it.

This incident led to a series of self-reflection, regrets and introspection tonight. I anticipate this feeling to linger throughout the weekend. I will make peace with it. I know I will, but it’s just too fresh right now. I need to learn from this mistake and get better. I need to bounce back from this and be better. I can be better. I can, and I will.

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