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    Resolution For 2023, This Is A Better Way To Nail It And I’m On It Now

    The beauty of this “12 Weeks” a year perspective is that you don’t have to wait long to see the results.


    It’s almost the end of March. Near the end of Q1 for those who measure their year by quarters. Twelve weeks have gone by if you follow “The 12 Week Year” by Brian F. Moran & Michael Lemmington. To some people, it’s like “Whooosh!!!” Could be jarring or unnerving. A quarter of the year 2023 almost passed by.

    Given up on your New Year’s resolution yet?

    I have.

    Long ago.

    What do you want to achieve?

    Who Is This “Azam”?

    I had been making “new year’s resolution” as a 13yo – as “azam tahun baru”. I was wondering who this “Azam” was. This “Azam” had a habit of disappearing after just a few weeks into the new year. Everyone seemed to forget “Azam” often before the end of January! I was doing it simply because “everyone” was doing it. Yes, I wrote “Azam” or maybe “To Azam”…

    Later on, it just became “I just wanna…”

    Get decent grades for SPM.

    Go overseas after SPM.

    Pass my diploma.

    Get into university.

    Get an honours degree.

    It simmered down a bit more when I started working. It seemed like I would be doing the same job for the rest of my life!

    Then it picked up again. I needed to get out of that job! Thus began an action plan:

    Buy ALL newspapers daily – of course, the English ones and Bahasa. Couldn’t read either Mandarin or Tamil. Still can’t.

    Cycle to town to buy the “morning newspaper” i.e. The New Straits Times, The Star, Utusan Malaysia, and Berita Harian, at lunchtime.

    Cycle to town to buy Malay Mail in the afternoon.

    Next time off, go back to Taiping to get my electronic typewriter.

    Learn to compose a nice resume.

    Learn to compose a nice opening letter.

    Apply to ALL interesting jobs daily.

    Eleven months after I started my first job, I tendered my resignation and went to Japan for a month-long “interview”.

    It was not a scam mind you, but if today…

    Life in the middle of nowhere.

    A Life In The Oilfield

    Thus the “Azam” also came with a working plan. I executed the plan, religiously.

    After passing the first interview in the company’s Kuala Lumpur office and the second practical interview in Medan for three days, potential candidates were exposed to the actual job site conditions. He/she was then evaluated by a tutor and the manager there to determine the suitability for the kind of work. He/she also would evaluate if this is the kind of work he/she would want to do.

    If selected, and I was selected as well as me selecting, off to a Schlumberger (now SLB) boot camp I went. For sixteen and a half weeks of severely intense learning (torture some might say…).

    Upon passing the “school’, off I was to the actual job, still a supervised trainee for a maximum of another six months. If the tutor n the location manager didn’t feel that I was suitable – bye-bye…

    If suitable, a senior engineer would conduct a real “on-the-job” test ie while doing the actual job and “break out” this engineer for a solo job. Did it! It took me a few months longer though due to some unavoidable circumstances. I was almost fired too!

    After that, the resolution was:

    Let me do a decent job.

    Let me make tons of money.

    Send me to a location I can make tons of money.

    But alas, the 1998-1999 recession put a stop to that. I became a stay-at-home dad instead, for a few months. My first son was born. I had to stay home for a few months to take care of him and his mother who was weak from the effect of the epidural.

    Sharp, useless, err…useful look.

    Thus Began A New Adventure — Selling

    Moved on to a new adventure in sales but somehow this “resolution” thingy faded away.

    Just happy to play with my baby boy and simply do my job.

    As I reflected on the twenty-four years of “simply doing my job” in sales, there were some moments and achievements I was proud of.

    And I thought – “What would it take, to have those similar moments n achievements again?”

    I began by selling two items:

    IEC 331 cable

    IEC 332 cable

    To this day, ALL I knew about them is that they are “fire-resistant electrical cables”. To be honest, I had not sold a single inch of them. Somehow I had sold RM16,000 worth of power cables. My first sale for my first sales job! My second sale was an order of RM550,000 worth of low-voltage switch boxes.

    It was these two sales that taught me the meaning of the word “persistent”.

    12 Weeks In A Year

    One of the books I read was “12 Week Year” and I came across author Mel Robins on Instagram and another post on LinkedIn by Jacqueline Ann Surin on questions that you want to ask yourself about last year, and what you want to happen this year.

    When I started my first sales job, I had no clue about how to plan the year. Plan the quarters, and navigate around the holidays, especially the major festivals like Hari Raya (Eid), the Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Christmas, and whatever else may be on the calendar.

    My life as a field engineer was easier to plan in a way. We worked 365 days a year, continuously for twelve months. In between, we accumulate four days of vacation time and four days of off time per month. As per when we would go for the vacation and time off, that was another matter. Our manager had to plan that for us. All we had to do was show up for work and get lost when told to.

    This book awakened something in me, though I had been out of the field situation for more than twenty years!

    For the life of my son, twenty-four years old, I had been following the timing and scheduling of that young field engineer. At the mercy of my field service manager or location manager! With this kind of timing or scheduling, I hated public holidays. Not that I am a very hardworking “rajin” guy, it’s just that these holidays disrupted my work schedule!

    Image | Arshad M.

    Sad Git!

    Took me 2 days to think, reflect and think. Questions from Mel Robins, Jacqueline Ann Surin, and Tim Ferriss, and pointers from the book squeezed my mind! Made me kick my backside too! For working like that for twenty-four years.

    If you read the book “The Answer” by John Assaraf, you’d be able to list what you want, the great stuff you had done, etc. But I have to say that Mel Robbins’ line of questions really helped me to put things into perspective, and “12 Week Year” helped me plan to execute it.

    Know what I want, plan what I want, and then put it into the ’12 Week Year” calendar so that I have something for me to do daily, to get to what I want.

    Happy Ya!!!

    Not Sad Anymore

    Sure, you might call me a “dumbass” for taking so long to come to that realization. It was not that I didn’t want to or try. But somehow it waited for many “ingredients” to come into that thick skull of mine before something clicked together. The “12 Week Year” really helped to get things to jive.

    Prior to putting these things on the calendar, “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” (4DX) helped me to clarify and prioritize what I want and want to happen in a year. With David Allen’s “Geeting Things Done” (GTD), I could see clearly that there are just too many things to do. So, PRIORITISE!!! Once I had those questions answered, and plans planned, “12 Weeks” help me to plan week by week to put down what I planned on a daily and weekly basis so that I can see the progression of things that I want to happen – step by step.

    Planning my days and weeks in mind and using the Nozbe app, I don’t have to memorize what I have to do next. I choose two hours, typically on a Sunday, to go through what I want to happen and have planned. That had been sorted via Mel’s & Jacqueline’s questions, prioritized for “viable projects” via 4DX, segregated for “whom to execute & by when” via GTD/Nozbe, and then execute.

    The daily, weekly, and monthly progress can easily be monitored via “projects progress” in Nozbe.

    From there, I can see on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, if what I had planned in my “Azam Tahun Baru” and whatever I want to happen and achieve by the end of the year, is on the right track, or not. If not, what kind of “course correction” actions I can do?

    What’s your plan to get your “resolution’ to happen?

    Come mid-year, I will share the questions that I went through to plan my “12 Weeks”. The beauty of this “12 Weeks” is that you don’t have to wait long to see the results. This helps for faster “course correction” actions to be taken. If you consciously do the GTD review every week, you can even take action faster.

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    Faizal was an engineer and a salesman. Having been “technical” in the last quarter, in this third quarter of his life, he started to explore his right brain – the world of writing. He writes and posts regularly his “shorts” (observations of Malaysiana) on Facebook and about his sales or business adventure on LinkedIn. Faizal is also a columnist on the portals Marketing In Asia on the topics of business, sales and productivity. Faizal is also an entrepreneur with startups in the agriculture and renewable energy industries.

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