A blog from my friend – it takes one to know one … 10 tips on living …

The Eagle Blog … April 8th, 2015

10 Lessons From a Retirement Party on Living a Good Life Make people feel good as your legacy

Recently I attended a retirement party for a friend that I have known for more than 25 years. It was a great time and I was able to catch up with a number of people I had not seen in some time, plus meet some new and interesting people.

There were a lot of people at that party and it was very evident how well my friend is regarded by people at all levels, from the very top executives down.

One of my friend’s quotes says “Looking back, I am concluding that one of life’s most rewarding moments is when you run into people on their knees and you are able to lean over and lift them up.”

For me it was a great reminder of what is truly important in life, and my friend embodies so many of those values.

Here are 10 tips on living a good life, based on his experiences:
1.Always make time for your friends and family.
2.Choose a career that you will find fulfilling.
3.Push yourself to live up to your potential.
4.Do not be envious of other people’s lives.
5.Have a plan for your life.
6.Be nice to people.
7.Don’t take yourself too seriously.
8.Always be learning and growing.
9.Make time for have some fun.
10.Get involved and give back.

Retirement in 2015 is not what it was in decades past … people retire with lots of energy, many years of life left and the experience that they can put to use in a Career #2, IF they so choose. For some it will just be the First Retirement! If you live your life well you will always have new doors available to be opened. I have no doubt that my friend will be entering his next phase with the same energy he demonstrated in phase 1!

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Vivian Greene

Many years ago my mother sent me a birthday card with that famous James Dean quote, “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” I still have that card posted on my wall … maybe I need to send one just like it to my friend. Of course he could well have coined the phrase himself!

Steven Covey suggests that we “Begin with the end in mind.” Just maybe the ultimate way to do that is to begin your career thinking about what you would like your retirement party to look like! It doesn’t really matter where you are in your career, you can always choose to change things up and live the life you deserve.

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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The Final Curtain …

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This blog is written in advance of my imminent departure from the Federal Government [The Government of Canada] this April 2015… An end to one act that will trigger the start of a new adventure, an act yet to be written … The curtain is finally coming down. It’s real, and I’ll now have an easy answer to the question, “Have you retired yet from the Government of Canada?” The answer will be a smile :). ! It’s no secret that this is my last blog as a federal employee and I am afraid there will be no confessions to share and no kiss and tell moments, at least not for now :). But if you’ll indulge me, I would like to share a few moments of reflection at this special time in my life. First, I want to thank so many of you. You made my life so much more meaningful, made me feel wanted and useful. In addition to a special thanks to Liseanne Forand, my boss, our amazing president who I will miss enormously, there are so many people I want to thank, so naming them is futile. Over the years, I had noteworthy failures and significant accomplishments and, for some reason, I never dwelled on either. I tried to live in the moment and so, at this moment, I feel a remarkable embarrassment of riches for having so many great friendships.  I met so many wonderful professional, gentle, generous, humorous and warm people. Really amazing people both in the public as well as in the private sector! For a boy who travelled from Gaza City to Ottawa right out of high school, to graduating from engineering at University of Ottawa, to doing so many jobs from junior programmer to CIO, I was lucky to play diverse roles, including junior officer, policy analyst and technology professional. I even played the role of Assistant Deputy Minister for a while—who would have thought!   Fifteen years of my career were spent in the highest offices in the land, at the Privy Council Office/Prime Minister Office, supporting many prime ministers and senior officials.   Although none of that was in my plan, I enjoyed every step along way, almost!!!     The truth is, my dream was to be accepted and be a member of the cast, to build friendships and to make a difference, that’s all.    Many of you helped me accomplish that; thank you all! It has been a wonderful career and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve this fantastic country as a member of its public service. Others have said that life is a mystery and magical! I agree. For me, every morning is a new start. I always accepted where and, finally, what I am. I made peace with whatever life dealt me. I have learned over the years that love is stronger than hate, hope is stronger than fear, and giving is more rewarding than taking. Looking back, I am concluding that one of life’s most rewarding moments is when you run into people on their knees and you are able to lean over and lift them up. I will not retire from that and I will focus on learning, sharing and supporting the forces of good in the world. Should you be interested, I plan to continue to chat at www.PoifectWorld.com. I have seen power come and go but, my grandmother, who lives in my heart and head, always reminded me of what’s important in life: do your part, do more to make life better for all, bring a smile to a child, have fun (I always liked that), and simply be good! She added, “Look after your grandmother:).” My last preaching words: stay away from fear and despair by filling your heart with love; give your spirit permission to soar in hope, way above our material world (Lamborghini’s exempted); help others; and, ultimately, build warm, real friendships and the world is yours; everything else is details. The end! Well, not so fast; I must end this journey with a song. Here it is: The Final Curtain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E80xewyo9JQ

The foundation of an exceptional team performance …

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As my public service career winds down,mz-photo

I have been reading about the secrets of a happy life after work, and I must admit than none of them say, “I should have worked harder, should have increased my list of accomplishments or should have won more arguments.” They say “be yourself”. Focus on making life better for you and those around you; build great friendships and love more. Oh well, keeping these in mind, and as I look around me, I see more than ever that the world is obsessed about the need for exceptional performance, particularly in times of unprecedented instability, with perceived reduced resources and worldwide competitiveness at an all-time high. Our organization is no different—our way forward is all about exceptional high performance. But, as we go forward, keep my first few sentences in mind.

So where do you go from here? My brain’s decided that there are two dimensions that drive exceptional performance. The first is personal performance. To be the best we can be, each of us needs to plan, develop and perform at higher levels of excellence. A good example of this is Olympians, who work obsessively to sharpen their talent and achieve their goals.

How do they do it? They focus on the goal. They continuously improve their skills and sharpen their competencies. They don’t settle for less. They are never distracted by the environment they find themselves in, regardless of how adverse it is to achieving their goal. They turn the negatives into positives and take advantage of the conditions they are in and harness them to work for them instead of being victims. Think of these incredible Kenyan runners who run in life-crushing temperatures and use their environment to develop the stamina that fuels high performance and produces world-class runners, year in and year out. The integrity of your performance should never be negatively impacted by the environment in which you find yourself, however dark it seems or is. On the contrary, like a candle in the dark, its performance is increased as the darkness deepens.

The other dimension that drives exceptional performance is the capacity to work in a team. All great performances come from teams! No one human being, however talented, brilliant or deluded enough to think they can go it alone, will ever succeed in the long term if they don’t understand teamwork. It’s the power of a team that makes it happen. As a service organization, it’s even more critical to work in teams because we need to master working with each other and with partners, both in the private and public sectors.

High-Performing-Teams

People who like to work alone, irrespective of how skilled, will never be as efficient as those who know how to work with others. People who think they know better than the team remind me of the solider who is out of step with his fellow marching soldiers and believes that they are all out of step, not him. I believe that behind every great business success story there is a great team and behind every great failure there is an individual who thought he could go it alone! Exceptional high performers harmonize their personal performance with those other performers on the team and, together, they produce the high performing team where all success resides. As our Kevin Radford keep repeating, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all”. It’s all about the team. So, let’s practice this together.

I am not saying it’s natural or easy, but that, like everything else in life, it takes practice. It’s really no mystery; an exceptional high performance is a union of an exceptional personal performance with an exceptional capacity to work with others in a team. So, in the end, it’s really up to each and every one of us to make the choice and, on a daily basis, fortify our personal professionalism and practice working with others no matter what group they belong to. As we do that, we are building our organization and powering it on its way forward.

Happy teaming, my friends!

The Power of a Smile …

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I often come to work rather early and I noticed that early people have a certain unmistakable look. It’s that look that says, “I could have slept a little more, but for reasons I don’t feel like talking about, I could not.” It’s a look that speaks loudly and often it amplifies or exaggerates a certain personality type. But, being human beings and social animals, we all try to fake it a little (that’s not meant in a negative way!) and I think we try to hide that look with a smile. I believe, even among the “nastiest” of all of us, there is a quota of “niceness” that we all have and often we cash some of it in with that first morning smile.

Now, when people run into each other first thing in the morning, most tend to hide their morning look behind a smile … but the smile, however powerful, is all too often inadequate to mask the real character and feeling we have first thing in the morning.

Here is what I mean:

For people with a tendency to be less friendly, they have this “don’t even think about it” look with a grudging smile. They look like they are forcing their face to smile; it looks rather painful☹! On the other hand, for those who are hyper friendly, they have that happy, almost goofy, borderline annoying look; “I am happy no matter what and will make sure you know it☺. Their smile, although real, seems too much for most morning people, but I will take it over the grudging smile☺.

And then, for those who are thinkers, they have this “I am friendly but please don’t bother me, as I am trying to solve world problems” look! Their smile looks more like a mechanical facial technique that is well thought out to use minimum energy and to ward off friendly people without offending them, sort of a technical smile. It falls somewhere between the grudging and the goofy smiles.

Then, of course, there is the “important people” look. I am not referring to a level here, otherwise this would be a career limiting blog. I am referring to people who feel important for whatever reason, real or imagined. They have this important smile, not too strong, not too soft, but borderline Royal!

Then there is the rushed smile that comes with the rushed look. It says, “I am good, I am friendly, but I am rushed and I have my smile on the move for you.” Often, it demands a continuous look with a turn of the head to perfect the rushed look! It’s quite something and demonstrates a certain talent to perfect. But, it has to be in the DNA of people to get it just perfect.

Of course, one can’t ignore the lazy smile that comes with a slow, low-energy level look. It’s friendly, but it’s painful as it demands your full attention. There is no chance for this smile to ever reach the rushed person, as it comes at you in a slow motion.

There are so many other smiles. Some smiles light up the room, some motivate, some are simply sweet and others sympathize, and one can’t forget those smiles that throw hearts all over the place—love smiles. How can you not be totally disarmed by the smile of a child or even a baby? Without question, smiles make you and those around you feel happier, healthier and definitely add value to the faces that wear them. There is much scientific research on the value of smiling. Here is a link to one: https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-smiling-a-guide-to-humans-most-powerful-gesture

My hope today is that this blog puts a smile on your face and adds value to it.

PoifectWorld – first act …

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This PoifectWorld blog is inspired by the notion that the silent majority of people, no matter where they come from, no matter what race, religion or colour, desire a peaceful, happy, and just world. Poifectworld blog aspiration is to provide a safe positive space for those who want to live in an optimistic, peaceful and negativity-free world.   Whether at work or in our personal life, everyone including our colleagues, friends, family and people we don’t know, want a positive space where the only goal is to make their and the world around them a happy world.

We need to replace criticism with solutions, replace judgment with acceptance, and we need to replace being hard on each other’s with being easy with each other. It all starts with being clear, honest and easy with ourselves. For me, although it’s still work in progress, the first step was to make peace with myself, accepted whatever cards I was dealt and then I am on my way to positively change & build a better world for myself and in the process hope to build a better world for all.  So, this space will only focus on positive, going forward solutions, no negative language, criticism or judgments; there is enough of that elsewhere.

We are here on the planet for a short time, none of us will live forever, and we are all better off helping each other. There is no other way. In my experience no one can “truly” be happy knowing that their happiness was at the ruin of others.   Those who take advantage of other people’s weaknesses to advance their own are not happy; they simply have not found their way. I dare say, this applies to movements and nations!

Rather than judging people who may be different from you are, or have different views, turn that into an adventure of discovery and learn about the difference. Accept what exists as a fact and then discover the beauty of the human spirit and its capacity to be different, to be happy, to be creative, and to be enriching. Think of how much more beautiful a garden is when you add more variety of flowers, color, and fresh natural fragrance. Where there is no beauty, create some, where there is darkness, light a candle.

Self-awareness is the first step to full awareness. To understand the world outside ourselves we need to understand the world inside us.   Philosophers tell us that our personal world is a microcosm of the world at large… When we become just and treat each other justly our world will be just. If each one of us adopts a peaceful posture, our larger world will be peaceful. There is no doubt that a more just world is a more peaceful world.

What unites us is the human spirit and when human beings are in need, it will rise in hope to help; it excludes no one.  The human spirit is in all of us and we need to develop our awareness of it and our capacity to contribute. We need to enrich our stock of love inside us because we can only give what we have.

We need to pay attention and develop solutions that include each other. That’s where hope comes for all of us.  After all it’s our world, we all have a right to be here and live a happy, fruitful, meaningful life.   It’s our inherited gift and when we quiet the noise around us we can hear the sweet melody that unites all of us.

Finally we the silent majority will be silent no more, so while I am on the planet, flawed as I am as most humans are, I feel I have a responsibility to make things better, and yes I dare say to make the world a better place, BUT never in hate, vengeance or violence. I am declaring the dark age of conflicts, negativity and inhumanity is over and will be replaced by the enlightened world of positivity, optimism and human harmony. Be part of this human orchestra of life!

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