Yesterday, I got the chance to meet one of my idols/inspirations in person. I did not have the chance to watch him on “The Apprentice Asia”, but I saw his book “Fast Forward” in a bookstore. I got interested with it (since it is a “career guide”) so I decided to buy it. Going back, I saw on Facebook that they will be having a workshop about “speaking confidently at work”. I decided to attend since I am really a “shy type” person and it is something that I really want to improve on myself (aside from I want him to sign my books and have a picture beside him).
I just bought his first book “From Grit To Great” previously and I really wanted to finish the book before I attended yesterday’s event. I know that for many, they can read the book in just one sitting. Admittedly, I am a slow reader that’s why it took me a week to finish the book. It was really a busy week though at work so I can forgive myself on that one!
As the cover of the book suggests, it is about Jonathan’s journey from his humble beginnings to winning The Apprentice Asia.
I might still be a little bit traditional as I had my “friendly Stabilo Boss” with me as I read the book so I can highlight my favorite parts of the book.
- In today’s world, the successful ones work smart, not just hard. (Yeah, I have heard a lot about “work smart” in the office. Our VP even suggested to name one of the applications I created as “WorkSmart”.)
- Here is a good definition of “working smart” – “It’s when you insist on using “old school” tricks when there are shorter, safer and faster ways of doing the same task that saves you more time and effort to enjoy the better things in life”.
- Jonathan realized that life is so short that if you can grab the chance to spend it on things that matter more, then grab it and never let go. (True enough)
- Efficiency is all about doing things at the least cost possible (Yes, I’ve been hearing “efficiency” a lot at work too. As your service fees go down, then the more we must make everyone and everything cost efficient.)
- I love the title of one of the chapters in the book – “Don’t Miss the Forest For the Trees”. It is about seeing the bigger picture. At work, most people instantly dive into execution without looking at strategy. They got too engrossed about the details but fail to understand what’s above or beneath them. They’re too excited to zoom-in when the first step is to zoom-out.
- In the corporate world, you need team members who want to work for you because they believe in you, more than those who are simple good with what they do. You may have the smartest people in your team, but if they do not believe in you, or think that they should be the one sitting in your throne – then your leadership will be challenged. (I believe in this one. I got the chance to interview some applicants who can join our (small) team. I did not rely alone with their technical expertise. I also considered if we will jive well. I know that it would be difficult at first and that I will only know it once we start working together. Fortunately, I am happy now with my team mates!)
- For muddy water to become clear, one must let it be still. All the mud will settle down and the water will clear up if you wait patiently. (I can relate on this one. I don’t know if it is a negative thing, but I would usually take a one day leave from work if I have a lot of things running in my mind which is causing me confusion and lost of focus in work. I know that I need to clear my mind first, away from work.)
- So what is “grit”? It is “passion and perseverance for very long term goals and sticking with your future day-in and day-out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years and working really hard to make that future a reality. It is a non-intellectual trait of having that undeniable passion to pursue your dream and that not matter how many times you fall down, you get up and pursue it.” The beauty of it all is that the same thing goes with life: anyone can succeed as long as she/he has grit. Unfortunately, you don’t buy grit in the nearest convenient store nor inherit it from your parents – you have to discover and cultivate it as you grow.
- The founder of IBM, Thomas Watson, once said “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate”. Indeed, the earlier you fail, the more you will learn – and hence, the faster you will succeed. But always remember, success takes time.
- The key to success in the corporate world is to build, and not burn bridges. The world is such a small place and the people you work with today may be the same people you will work for, or who will work for you in the future.
- In the corporate world, a leader may not have the highest IQ but she is expected to have the strongest EQ. She must be emotionally mature and secure who will thank what is the best for the company while many of her staff likely think about their own careers. She always steps back, and examines the bigger picture. She knows that it’s not about her – it’s about her people.
- A great leader inspires, motivates and cheers his people. He develops their careers to become the next set of leaders. When a leader leads well, the rest will believe in him and follow.
- You will learn more about the corporate world as you go along in your career. No textbook or TV show will teach you all the ropes on how to make it big. Take every moment as an opportunity to learn and grow.
The rest of the book are some “hacks” for the corporate world.
I am glad (and feel proud of myself) that I am able to finish the book before the event yesterday. I got to know Jonathan more after reading the book. I love his “passion” for the things he is doing. I see in him a man of passion. It is very inspiring. I have also read in the book that he loves debating. No wonder it is one of the activities in yesterday’s workshop.
I would recommend the book “From Grit To Great” to everyone who wants to feel inspired and motivated on how to “make it big”. Not really in terms of financial, but about self fulfillment. I think that is really important that you are happy in what you do.
(For every purchase of “From Grit To Great”, a portion will be donated to help children in Southeast Asia access quality education)