Category Archives: 2015 Daily Awareness



There are 1440 minutes in a day.  How do you arrange your minutes throughout the day to accomplish your goals?

First week back to work

I think it went well.  It felt a bit weird going back to a new job in my former branch, but it somehow felt like I was heading home.  Home with data again.  Home with SAS and SQL scripts everywhere and these intellectual compositions produce reports other people use to run the province, country, and humanity.  The downside is that it comes with a huge workload and more readings of boring manuals.  The fun part is that I get to work with lots of awesome people.  It was a good week!

Things are going pretty well at home.  Anya and I are really digging our new neighbourhood.  Serena is liking her day care, and she’s more used to spending Wednesdays with Nainai.  Griffin laughs at my silly faces when I’m home from work.  The time away from my family makes me want to hold them closer.

Fierce Conversations

Another email reminder from the library at work.  It said the Fierce Conversations book by Susan Scott is due in three days.  I’ve already renewed the book twice.  I’m only half way done reading it.  Between reading work material and academic papers for school, reading for pleasure is not easy.  This book has been meaningful, and I have been reading it on the bus.  However, there are only so many bus rides I take during the week.  Since I might be taking a course called Fierce Conversations in April, I’ve decided to return the book tomorrow.  I want to keep something from the book, so here is a collection of all the “refreshers” at the end of each chapter/principle in Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott:

Principle 1: Master the courage to interrogate reality

  • Regularly interrogate reality in your workplace and in your personal life.  What has changed?  Does the plan still make sense?  If not, what is required of you? of others?
  • Since everyone owns a piece of the truth about reality, consider whose realities should be explored before important decisions are made.
  • Avoid blame by modifying your language.  Replace the word but with and.
  • Ensure that your personal and corporate immune systems are healthy by conducting an integrity scan and correcting any outages.

Principle 2: Come out from behind yourself into the conversation and make it real

  • Free your true self and release the energy.  Others will recognize it and respond.
  • Your body will manifest the pictures your mind sends to it, so clarify where you want to go with your life in 3-D, Techni-color, wide-screen, with Dolby surround sound.
  • If your overhear yourself saying, “I don’t know,” ask yourself, “What would it be if I did know?”
  • Take yourself seriously.  Take your life personally.  Otherwise, there won’t be enough of you here.

Principle 3: Be here, prepared to be nowhere else

  • Whether at home or at work, whether for five minutes or for an hour, give your partner the purity of your attention.
  • Take the pulse of the relationship by really asking and really listening.
  • Come into the conversation with a beginner’s mind.  Bring nothing but yourself.
  • Use the secret rule: No advice or declarative statement.  Questions only.
  • Use the Decision Tree to provide your direct reports with clear decision-making boundaries and thresholds.

Principle 4: Tackle your toughest challenge today

  • Burnout occurs because we have been trying to solve the same problem over and over.
  • The problem named is the problem solved.
  • All confrontation is a search for the truth.
  • Healthy relationships include both confrontation and appreciation.
  • A courageous, skillful confrontation is a gift, a vein of gold worth mining.

Principle 5: Obey your instincts

  • A careful conversation is a failed conversation.
  • During each conversation, listen for more than content.  Listen for emotion and intent as well.
  • Act on your instincts rather than passing them over for fear that you could be wrong or that you might offend someone.
  • Watch what happens to the conversation when you do this.
  • Invite your partners to do the same.

Principle 6: Take responsibility for your emotional wake

  • In any important relationship, there is no trivial comment.
  • Give to others what you want to receive; live the principles you are intent on learning.
  • To deliver the message without the load, clarify your intent; aim for the chopping block.
  • When you get triggered, become a crucible – a strong, resilient vessel in which profound change can safely take place.
  • Complete the conversation.

Principle 7: Let silence do the heavy lifting

  • Talk with people, not at them.
  • The more emotionally loaded the subject, the more silence is required.
  • Use silence to slow down a conversation so that you can discover what the conversation really wants to be about.
  • Allow silence to fill in the greater meaning that needs to be there.
  • Allow silence to teach you how to feel.

I’ve taken the prerequisite, Coaching Approach to Conversations, for the Fierce Conversations course.  Now knowing the seven principles, I can’t wait for the two-day workshop and the exercises using these seven principles in April.

Peter Bregman: Four Seconds

Heard a really good podcast on the bus today.  It’s put up by the HBR IdeaCast.  The topic is on how to be less reactive and more proactive.  Thought this is worthwhile listening again later.


Just Like a Dream | 就像梦一样

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Just like a dream when quality times were spent with family.























Just like a dream when past stories were revisited with classmates.

与往年同学重访时光, 就像梦一样。









Just like a dream when thesis poster was presented with a jet lag.

海报演讲为省争光, 就像梦一样。

The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

I finished reading The One Minute Manager by Kenneth and Spencer today.  It was a really fun read.  I read the whole book during transit on the bus to and from work.  I liked how the book had a storyline.  The authors used a young man seeking for advice on how to be an effective manager.  He looked everywhere and interviewed many people, but he was not satisfied with his findings.  Then he was introduced to the One Minute Manager.  The One Minute Manager introduced the young man to the three secrets of being an effective manager: one minute goals, one minute praisings, and one minute reprimands.  Each secret offers tips of managing and working with people.  The book was published in 1981, but all three secrets can still be applied today in workplaces.

Here are some of the highlights that stood out to me:

  • People who feel good about themselves produce good results.
  • Productivity is more than just the quantity of work done.  It is also quality.
  • Quality is simply giving people the product or service they really want and need.
  • The best way to achieve high productivity is through people.
  • The One Minute Manager always makes it clear what our responsibilities are and what we are being held accountable for.
  • Help people reach their full potential.  Catch them doing something right.
  • The more consistently successful your people are, the higher you rise in the organization.
  • Feedback is the breakfast of champions.
  • Take a minute: look at your goals, look at your performance, see if your behaviour matches your goals.
  • I reprimand the behaviour only. … My purpose in a One Minute Reprimand is to eliminate the behaviour and keep the person.
  • We are not just our behaviour.  We are the person managing our behaviour.
  • Goals begin behaviours.  Consequences maintain behaviours.
















Less blogging, more thesis-ing

Anya told me today that I need to focus on writing more thesis and less blogging.  There goes my hope to record my daily thoughts in 2015…  She had a point there, however.  Sacrifices do need to be made.  I’ve got lots to work on for my thesis.

Jacob Skripnitchenko

Today is dedicated to Jacob.








Congratulations to second time parents, Anatoli and Christina!  Elias, I know you will be an awesome big brother!

Adele Eva Cunningham Stewart

Today is dedicated to this little baby girl, Adele, daughter of proud parents: Sarah Cunningham and Derek Stewart.








Congratulations Sarah and Derek!  Welcome to parenthood.


I attended my Wednesdays Toastmasters club meeting at noon today.  I was very rusty!  The last Toastmasters meeting I went to was over a year ago.  This year, I’ll be doing more public speaking.  I have a feeling that my job will engage me with more facilitation in meetings and presentation of my branch products to other Ministry branches and divisions.  Becoming a better communicator is one of my three goals this year.  I’m hoping to improve through practice.

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