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Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

Posted March 09, 2009 12:01 AM by DrDoug

Take some time to reflect on who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Don't take the easy way out. Avoid the temptation to tell yourself "I'm too busy to do this right now." Take the next few minutes to read, reflect and write.

To help you along, I will challenge you with some questions that are designed to help you uncover what makes you do the things you do. This brief exercise is one of those little things that can have a tremendous and lasting impact on your life. Understand that the more you put into searching for the answers, the more you will gain from what you uncover.

Answer these ten questions.

  1. Why have you chosen your current occupation? In other words, are you passionate about what you do and, if so, what is it about your job that motivates you to be the best? (If you cannot think of anything, then you may have stumbled on more of an answer than you realize!)
  2. What are your top three strengths as a person? How do each of those strengths HURT you in your occupation?
  3. What are your top three weaknesses as a person? How do each of those weaknesses HELP you in your occupation?
  4. What distracts you from being at your best?
  5. What gets you focused?
  6. What makes you nervous?
  7. What gives you confidence? What takes away your confidence?
  8. Who do you view as your mentor? And why?
  9. Who are you a mentor to? (The best way to learn is to teach.)
  10. Are you happy with your life? Why? or Why Not?

Again, I encourage you take some time to work on discovering who you are, what you do and why you do it. Need some more motivation? Consider this quote.

"A person who does not take the time to ask themselves the hard questions unknowingly gives up the opportunity to achieve their potential."

Trust me. Your efforts will not be wasted. You will be uncovering your most valuable, yet underutilized resource – YOU!

Dr. Doug

Editor's Note: You can visit Dr. Doug online at www.DrDoug.com or by email: DrDoug@DrDoug.com. His next CR4 blog entry will run on Monday, 03/09/09.

Other CR4 Blog Entries by Dr. Doug

Meet Dr. Doug

Finding the Zone and Experiencing Flow

Using Your EGO to Achieve Excellence

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The Engineer
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#1

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/09/2009 1:19 PM

Hi DrDoug,

I've answered the following questions and posted them:

1. Can't answer this question as the answer may incriminate myself.

2. Intelligence, Empathy, and Ethics. At work it can strain relationships with those I don't interact with often.

3. Impoliteness, Arrogance, Lack of Patience. At work people appreciate that I am willing to say what others are not but needs to be said.

4. Bills and Debts. Interactions with people who don't know me well.

5. The chance for success, or money, or both.

6. When I meet or interact with people I don't know well in person

7. My past experiences / accomplishments. Interactions with people I don't know well in person.

8. I'm my own mentor, though I'm trying to live up to the rules my parents laid out for me on how to be a good person. The reason I don't have a mentor is because I don't look to others for answers.

9. I offer advice to anyone who will listen, but when I attempt to "mentor" I can be a bit overbearing.

10. At this moment, no. Right now I'm working extremely hard so that in a few years and for the rest of my life, I can sit back and enjoy life.

Well, I tried to answer as honestly as I could (where it didn't endanger my job). I definitely think that the most damaging lies are the ones we tell ourselves.

One thing I do want to emphasize though. There are things about ourselves that we can't change. It is equally important to be honest to ourselves about what these things are, not so that we can change them, but so that we can learn to work around them.

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#2

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/09/2009 3:56 PM

1. I accepted my destiny as a writer. I don't see it as a job, but as a calling. It is a competition over time with the great minds, like Faulkner, Tolstoy, James Jones, and others.

2. I'm a polymath willing to hire up, instead of down. I won't quit. I'm honest. I'm considered eccentric. I've been loyal to people who didn't deserve my loyalty.

3. I put off filling out forms. I have in the past made fun of myself. I don't like to be out in front, and prefer being behind the scenes, over being famous myself.

4. Bad weather, Bad news, and I have a couple of adult vices.

5. Good Project, Good People, Good Money.

6. No insurance, and no cash in the bank account, no contracts.

7. Jobs done that went well, a job at hand, and one on the way.

8. I don't have a mentor currently. Andre` Lewin Chairman of the French UN Association was last closest thing to a mentor for me. Prior to that the guy that I had identified as a mentor, says he is now my biographer.

9. Currently and consistently I've encouraged my wife to accept her talents as a Radio Personality and interviewer. I had an intern who I advised who actually took my advice and ended up doing well and thanking me. I advised a kid I worked with to become an engineer, but I got fired, and don't see him anymore.

10. Well, actually, I'm not too happy with my life these days, but I'm working on fixing that best I can, with what I've got, from where I am. I'm grateful that things are OK today.

P.S. I'm aware I did not fully answer questions 2 and 3. One time a friend asked me what my greatest flaw was, and I answered: Lack of Low Self Esteem. My favorite compliment was: "We like having a poet around, who knows how to get things done."

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#3

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/10/2009 10:22 AM
  1. I knew that I liked chemistry but not enough to major in it and that I liked finding out how things worked. Once in college, the challenge of the subject matter once I got used to actually having to exercise my brain was a major motivator.
  2. I am very introspective and it makes me doubt the quality of my work. I like to let my work speak for me and this gives others the opportunity to walk on me or use me. I am honest and try to be as ethical as possible and I expect others to behave similarly and when they don't I get disillusioned (the reason I changed jobs here recently). This new job seems to value these strengths which gives me some confidence that I chose correctly.
  3. It takes time to gain my trust which at work means I won't just swallow what you say or trust your calculations unless you have a proven track record of success. I am loyal to a fault, usually putting a lot of my own desires in the back seat and fill holes that need to be filled at work even if it is something that is "beneath" me, this sometimes hurts my family time as well. I hate filling out forms and answering the phone, I will literally put that off for days. This doesn't help me in my job at all and is something I need to improve.
  4. HR issues in my last job would distract me for days on end, particularly when I was trying to transfer within the company. As mentioned above, I have a lot of loyalty towards my employer and I expected that in return. When that didn't happen, I would analyze and obsess to distraction.
  5. People asking for my help.
  6. The first time something that represents months or years of my life turns on and other people interact with it and/or use it. I take a lot of ownership in these things and I want them to be perfect and have others say "nice job".
  7. Successful jobs give me confidence, people questioning my work and finding errors takes away my confidence.
  8. There is a guy that sits on the API committee for recips that is someone I would describe as my mentor at work. He has a lot of respect not because he has a big title or can lord over people but he has a ton of experience and applies common sense to a lot of problems. He is usually right as well which impresses me a lot. He says what he believes to be correct even if it makes managers uneasy. I wouldn't say I have a "life" mentor right now.
  9. Nobody right now, too young I think to really mentor anyone although I do continually try and show engineering as a good career for family and friends that are trying to find out what they want to do in life.
  10. Very happy with life, I have a good job and a great family. Can't ask for much more than that.

How about another quote?

"The unexamined life is not worth living" -Socrates

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#4

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/10/2009 3:07 PM

8. Who do you view as your mentor? And why?

Everyone. Fools can have a good idea and Geniuses make mistakes.

9. Who are you a mentor to? (The best way to learn is to teach.)

All that wish to learn but the base. Helping the truly base is promoting their actions. Currently I'm working 7 days a week so the output is currently very slow.

As for happy, moderately. To happy and you lose direction, not happy enough and depression sets in.

Brad

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#5

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/11/2009 3:44 AM

1. Why have you chosen your current occupation? In other words, are you passionate about what you do and, if so, what is it about your job that motivates you to be the best? (If you cannot think of anything, then you may have stumbled on more of an answer than you realize!)

I'm a retired mechanical engineer. Trying to look back 50 years it seems like the reason I went to engineering school and picked a mechanical path was that was the stuff that I was interested in and I was pretty good in math and science. And it was my decision with very little outside influence. It just seemed to be the right thing to do.
Passionate? No. For the next 10 or 15 years the only thing I was passionate about was hot rods and girls, in that order. Engineering school and the jobs afterward were easy work but nothing to get passionate about. I got married and started to grow up. And gradually my passions took a back seat to responsibilities and shifted from cars for their own sake to cars as a thing to make stuff for. That's when the cars and engineering started to come together.
What motivated me then still motivates me today. It's the opportunity to put all my skills and experience into creative solutions.

2. What are your top three strengths as a person? How do each of those strengths HURT you in your occupation?

I'm creative. This was particularly bothersome to bosses who thought the opportunities for creative thinking should be reserved for people of their rank. I eventually learned how to make them think the idea I wanted to promote was their's.

I like to think strategically and seek out underlying theory and root causes. This sometimes got me into trouble for not focusing on simple answers and immediate results.

I try to do the job right and professionally. Ethics and personal integrity are a big deal to me. Too often that was not what my boss wanted.

3. What are your top three weaknesses as a person? How do each of those weaknesses HELP you in your occupation?

I'm kind of fragile emotionally. My awareness of this later in my career led to me escaping bad employment situations before they became catastrophic.

I could never figure out how to play the political game even though I got along well with my fellow employees. This finally convinced me to drop out of the "wanna be a manager" career trap. And it probably is what added enough years to my life to get me to retirement.

I talk too much and too loud; especially about things that I'm into and interested in. This served me well in giving presentations but I think it irritated a some of my bosses and co-workers.

4. What distracts you from being at your best?
Too many trivial tasks and interruptions that break my focus. Multitasking.

5. What gets you focused?

Emergencies and fun stuff.

6. What makes you nervous?

Managers with emotional problems or serious deficiencies of necessary skills. I have trouble when I don't feel in control of my situation.

7. What gives you confidence?

Success and having the technical answers.

What takes away your confidence?

Heavy or unwanted criticism

8. Who do you view as your mentor?

I never had a real mentor. I was the firstborn and my Dad died when I was 11. There were no close older male relatives and our family circle was small. I never really connected with teachers and just a few of my bosses only during the time I worked for them. Looking back, this was a real handicap for me. The nearest thing to mentors to me even today is my own family.

9. Who are you a mentor to? (The best way to learn is to teach.)

Anyone I can. But especially my oldest son, also a mechanical engineer. 15 years into his career he's a far better engineer and leader than I was and I think my role as a mentor has helped that.

10. Are you happy with your life? Why? or Why Not?

Generally yes. Especially now that I'm retired. I had a pretty much average engineering career, mostly mediocre accomplishments and a few that were big to me if unspectacular in the grand scheme of things. I've been with the same great gal for 49 years and have two fine successful sons. The only thing I regret is that I didn't reach out for better advise on managing my career before it was too late and too many mistaken paths. But I figured I could do it myself, just like so many other things that I got into over my head.

Ed Weldon

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#13
In reply to #5

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/16/2009 9:24 PM

A GA from me Ed. As the reader, I felt that there was no denying this was Ed. Straight forward and genuine sincerity in your answers. As a father of two boys myself, the fact that you can and have been a positive influence in any or many ways, is always good and says something good about you! Especially these days. I'm sure your a proud papa!

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#6

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/11/2009 5:15 PM

I just wanted to shoot a quick note to all of you - especially those of you who have given the rest of us the gift of your own personal responses. I certainly have enjoyed reading your posts - and gained a deeper insight into each of you. So, thank you very much for doing that.

Doug

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#7

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/11/2009 5:21 PM

And by the way. I want to thank all of you for your challenges and interaction when we first met. You forced me to rethink the title of my book and I spent a few hours with the publisher on monday and we agreed with you - the title needed to change.

I cant reveal the new title just yet..have to wait for the publisher to do their thing first - but I am forever indebted to you all for opening my eyes to the issue.

I will post the new title, when i can...which will hopefully be very soon.

doug

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#8

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/16/2009 10:04 AM

I finally got the OK from the publisher to release the new title:

as I mentioned, I am grateful for the feedback you gave me when I first started writing this blog.

It forced me to rethink the title of my new book...and here it is.

"The Eight Principles of Excellence"

the release date is january 2010.

thank you all, again, for your input.

Doug

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/16/2009 12:03 PM

Would you like a proof reader? I volunteer if you do. Spelling is not my forte but conceptual communication I'm well versed at. I am also an avid reader of many genres. (not romance, westerns, or horror)

Brad

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#10
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Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/16/2009 12:57 PM

Hi Brad,

that is a very generous offer but I will have to decline as the book is already completed and in the publishers hands at this point. thank you for the offer, though.

doug

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/16/2009 5:34 PM

No problem DrDoug,

If you want a different perspective opinion on some of your ideas, it would be my pleasure.

So do we get a CR4 discount on your new book?

Brad

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#12
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Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/16/2009 8:57 PM

Thanks...and re: the discount - that is up to the publisher, not me my friend - i am just in charge of creating the content.

doug

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#14
In reply to #11

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/16/2009 9:55 PM

Aw, c'mon guys. This is not about seeing whether you can win in a a negotiation. These guys have to buy groceries just like the rest of us. It sounds like they have something good to sell and I look forward to reading what DrDoug has written.

Ed Weldon

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#16
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Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/17/2009 3:06 AM

What I'm not allowed to tease? He did. The name is... and you can get it next year. Now I'll have to get on the list so not to forget that is coming out.

He already has us hooked, but anticipation is a dish best served at the peek of hot.

Hey DrDoug, how about an already published book list to fill in some time?

Brad

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#15
In reply to #8

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/16/2009 10:45 PM

I nearly simply want to guess at what the Eight are.

Excellence is easy, it's success I'm finding more difficult.

How many principles compose the Boy Scout Creed? :Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Courteous Kind, Obedient, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent?

Take away Clean and Reverent, or Obedient and Reverent, and we have the modern Eight.

Then again possibly the Excellence comes from dropping 2 out of ten as suits the situation?

Why Eight Is Better Than 10, to be Excellent and Successful, Principle Truths.

Run that by your Publisher for the fun of it.

Of course I am aware that Character is its own reward that does not require success.

Thanks for your thanks.

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#17
In reply to #15

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/17/2009 10:30 PM

the 8 principles are:

1) Discover your core motivation

2) Gain self awareness

3) Set Goals and Game Plans

4) Identify your Edge

5) Have internal confidence

6) Don't let emotions determine your decisions

7) Be willing to take risks

8) Be Accountable

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/21/2009 2:30 PM

Motivations are Sex Security & Status, or Money, Ideology, Compromise and Ego. Ideologically motivated people are most dangerous, or most beneficial, depending on the ideology that motivates them.

Self awareness may be a question of which self?; The parent self, the child self, or the adult self?

What am I doing now? Am I working or playing?

All games have rules. All games have winners and losers. Therefore all players have an implicit goal of "winning", if they enter into playing the game. If you are self aware you will avoid playing games you have no talent for, or interest in, and no hope at all of winning at. I am inclined to recommend changing the order of 3 and 4, so you first identify your Edge, and then determine what games to play.

Love yourself, and you will be better at loving others.

Love and Fear are two emotions of great inhibition or inspiration. We truly are incapable of eliminating emotions as influences on our decisions. However if we consistently act out of love, as opposed to acting out of fear, this is about the best we can do to mitigate the emotional factor that we inherit as part of humanness.

Should we be willing to risk losing everything, our lives, our fortunes, the security of our families and friends? Certainly when there is nothing ventured, nothing will be gained, and taking a risk is reasonable when the price of inaction is certain failure, whereas there is a chance, taking a risk will result in winning, the willingness to take a risk is justified.

To be accountable is simply a part of having integrity. As a professional you sign your name to work you either do yourself, or judge to be worthy of your sign off. You will be held accountable, whether you like it or not. Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad is a story of some value to read on these scores.

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#18

Re: Your Most Valuable Resource - YOU

03/17/2009 10:32 PM

By the way, wanted to let you all know that I am taping a special for CNBC tomorrow called: Where the jobs are.

it will air tomorrow night at 10pm EST.

thanks

Doug

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