Thursday, September 27, 2012

Everyone is a Teenager Inside

"Is this the life that you lead or the life that’s led for you?
Will you take the road that's been laid out before you?"

Who am I? That's easy- I'm a Technical Supervisor for Medtronic- one of the world’s largest medical device manufacturers.

Why the funny look? Oh, the fact that I forgot how I'm a third year Master's student at ASU for Systems Engineering.

You're shaking your head at me- is that not who I am?

Wait- let me look in the mirror. Hey beautiful! I know who you are- you like driving around town without a purpose, drinking espresso shots at your favorite local coffee shop, strength training and swimming on your time off and leading! Best part of my day is when I can be the leader that I had always aspired to be.

Well, who else am I? I guess I'm not always a leader... I'm just a little girl on most days. Created a path for my density but got the drawings approved by other influences. But it's still my path, ultimately. *dazed looked down at the ground*

Who am I kidding? It's everyone's path- Stakeholders including family and friends and co-workers. Why you ask? Because that's how it is. That’s how it’s always been.

You ask, if I could change anything about my life- what would it be? I wouldn't change a thing- I would just try to find more patience.

As a Palestinian-American, I've struggled to keep a balanced life. I am so fortunate of the upbringing my mother gave me. Teaching me the beautiful ways of Islam and rituals of Palestinians- respecting your mother, and all woman, cherishing kids and the less fortunate-respecting elders and being nice to everyone, even strangers-especially strangers. Doesn't sound hard on the outside until the element of union comes up- marriage. Making two souls one, to be a complete Muslim.
Again- not hard. Yeah, right.

I never believed in love- I still don't. I believe in an accumulation of emotions and feelings that start with Trust, and include understanding, respect, loyalty, security and happiness. People call it love- I call it a fairy tale. I guess I never stopped to think why I didn't go after love- until someone recently asked me.

I made excuses- well I don't date. That's it- I can’t because of my culture & religious belief- so I won't. But that someone told me it’s just bull. Besides- the man I envision as my companion wouldn't pass security. He'd have to be laid back, simple, smart, funny, exotic, childish, caring, and knows when to let me lead. I'm dreaming right?

I never let myself open up to what the world was trying to give me. I closed off myself and put 100% focus on my academic and career aspirations. That's a guarantee. I'll never stop learning and never stop growing so I figured I don't need a significant other to keep me afloat. Or at least not now. I had control over who I was at work and at school, but I kept a set mind on that, not realizing the world I was truly missing and the internal battles I was fighting with myself.

But who am I? I never quite answered that and that's probably why I never opened my heart or mind to a companion.

With balancing the two worlds that I live between, I get lost as who I'm supposed to be when. I want to be a leader. Set a path and go for it. Set a course of action and execute. I want to stand tall over my friends and family with confidence and security, knowing that they trust my judgment and are proud of me.

And I want to be myself during it all- funny, whiny, analytical, easy going, corny, caring... So when am I that? Standing in front of a whiteboard - I feel alive. And I still can't quite figure out why. There I am- with a marker drawing diagrams- visually communicating or solving linear programming formulations. So exciting! It's such a thrill to stand in front of an audience or by myself and just write it all out! Why?!Couldn't tell you but I'm sure it's linked to who I truly am.

You can't love somebody until you become somebody and that somebody needs to be the one who you accept as you.

Everyone is stuck between who they truly are and who the world sees them as. We get caught up in our career and the qualities and qualifications that help us retain that job- and we start becoming that person. And when we love our career, we start loving our life, thinking it’s who we are. Sometimes it is but sometimes if you leave work and are immediately seen as a different entity than there's an issue. Of course you wear one hat at work and one at home- but they should at least be the same hat, maybe different colors.

I am writing this because I'm stuck. Everyone is a teenager inside- my favorite past time is jumping around my room lip-sinking to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun! But I can't always do that and it becomes an issue when you attempt to detach your leadership self, from your true inner self. It can be devastating to some extent when you put things aside as if they're not there.

Lesson learned? I'm looking for one. For starters- I need to figure out why I get such a thrill from writing on the whiteboard and maybe I’ll be able to find out who I am in the process. What makes you excited and do you know why? Or do you think know why?

Ask yourself- are you happy or content? If content- is it because you're deceiving yourself? If happy- is it because you know who you are and you're satisfied with that person.

Remember- you come first, just know which you.

"Believe me...True Leaders not made for glamour...Most of the time they earn it after they die "glamour that is" even if they get any before die, without self-found strength they won't enjoy it! I know you have it in you to work through the mazes of the mind to find some amazing Tima class strength :-)"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Time is everything

"By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),
Verily Man is in loss,
Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds,
and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth,
and of Patience and Constancy."

Time is everything.

Sometimes we have all of it in the world to go around. Finishing your degree, traveling to the arctic, settling down... And sometimes we're limited where we have less than 24 hours to find 57 conforming products and ship them to our customer. But what is it about time that make people impatient? It can go really slowly if some things know you're not ready for it.

Let's stop and look at the date: 23SEP12. Okay- where did the scorching hot months of AZ go? Where did my summer go? Is it already midterm season at ASU? But what needs to happen now? What deadlines are critical to our future and the success of our organization? Organizing my closet by style and color after donating to goodwill? No. Skydiving off a perfectly good plane over the deserts of AZ? No. Finding a dress for my cousins wedding? No. Finishing my book on what I've learned in leadership? No. Getting engaged to the man I found myself most compatible with? No, not even that.

In today's world we need to recognize the goals and when they need to be met. Our actions need to continue to be value added to those goals or else we're not being productive. Everything has its time indeed but it takes people with great expertise to recognize when to complete an action and when to say: this can wait. Leaders and individual contributors struggle because they think they have to do it all. Well, they do. You can't get out of it but it's about when you do (and sometimes how) that makes you feel accomplished and less overwhelmed at the end of the day. Professor in industrial engineering operations research department asked me yesterday 'wow how do you manage your time' after stating I was a technical supervisor at Medtronic completing my masters. My answer "I don't." we laughed and my answer should have finished with "I don't. I manage my goals."

For example, I completed my graduate path of study last fall. Put in a few courses and set the date of May 2013 to graduate. This past May, I looked at what was left for my thesis and was surprised to see how close I was to completing it and defending it in November. But then actions and deadlines and goals happened at work and around the family. And for the first time in my life, I was okay with saying no, my thesis can wait until May. These other items were too critical and had goals that needed to be met.

The purpose of this blog is for you to stop and see what you're working on. Where is your time being spent? My manager always asks me- what are you working on? And I gave him tasks. It took me about 14 months or more, of him asking that question for me to answer with goals.

My answer used to be- write this document, talk to this person, guide on this project, check the status of this product.... Yeah- task oriented.
Where now (on most days) it's- support the campus document closure goal, achieve talent development objectives, improve application of DMAIC, support supply of production goals - strategically oriented, right? That's all it took for me to start seeing what it was I was actually working on and whether or not it mattered.

So why am I writing this today? Because I lost my strategic glasses last week. Was caught up in the moment and thought something had to happen now. Defied my instincts and went with other forces around me to make a decison. No goals were impacted during this time. All of my customers had pacemakers to implant for their patients and I am still hovering around an A and a B for my classes. What happened? I may have lost a good friend for starters and worst of all- may be in jeopardy of doubting myself in the future.

Knowing what has to happen now versus later is critical to your success. You can easily get burnt out focusing on everything at once. There's a time and place for everything and knowing when to utilize that time will make or break you. And remember- this applies to work, school and most of all family & friends. Don't lose time over things you think have to happen. And above all- Don't lose the most important objectives you truly live for.