OUTSTANDING: featuring me, Rob Yeung
Lots of magazines have question and answer sections in which the magazine asks the same set of questions every issue of different people.
So I thought I would set up my own simple set of questions based around the theme of things that are OUTSTANDING. Then, I will occasionally get interesting people to share some of their insights, too. But in this first instance, I’m going to answer my own set of questions.
Please let me know what you think of the format. And please do suggest interesting people you would like to suggest for the format, too!
An OUTSTANDING thing about my job
It’s very satisfying to be able to share information with people and change their lives in ways both small and occasionally big. I love giving presentations and running large workshops, but I don’t often get to see how presentations and workshops change people. So probably the most rewarding thing about my work is when I coach individuals and get to see them change over months and years.
An OUTSTANDING book I have read in the last year
I never paid much attention in history class when I was at school. However, I have been reading more and more books about history in the last few years. One recent book was These Truths by Jill Lepore. It’s a condensed history of the United States of America written by a professor at Harvard University. Intellectually, I knew that the British and European colonists had not been the kindest people, but this book really made me wake up to some of the grave injustices that have been dealt to many of the world’s peoples – and how those historical problems have led to issues in today’s world.
An OUTSTANDING piece of advice I would share about success at work
I didn’t realise this early on in my career when I was in my 20s. But both my experience and research both tell us that relationships really matter – and often matter more than our technical skills, qualifications or knowledge. Critics will say that the workplace is unfair: that it’s dominated by office politics and favouritism. And to a degree, I agree that the workplace is unfair. But it is possible for all of us to work harder at building stronger working relationships – even friendships – with the colleagues, bosses, customers and clients that really matter. So don’t get lost in just working hard at your job – make sure you pay attention to relationships with key decision makers, too.
An OUTSTANDING trait I value in other people
When I was younger, I used to be impressed by intelligence and talent. But over the years, I have come to value kindness most – not just in my friends but also my clients.
An OUTSTANDING experience I have had in recent years
Someone close to me was diagnosed with cancer some months ago. It has really made me more aware of my personal priorities. It’s easy to take the people that we cherish and love for granted. However, I am now more than ever aware that our time together on this planet is limited. As a result, I am more picky about who I spend my time with.
An OUTSTANDING achievement that I accomplished
I feel that my biggest career achievement is probably getting my books published. I was about 28 years old when I decided that I wanted to write a business book. So I researched the process, got in touch with publishers, pitched ideas, wrote proposals and eventually got a publishing deal. I hardly earned anything for that first book. I hardly earned anything for my second and third books. But with each book, I got faster at writing and better at communicating what I wanted to say. And now I’ve lost count of how many books I’ve written.
An OUTSTANDING thing I do for my own mental health
I have a fairly sedentary job. Yes, I sometimes stand up while giving presentations. But I spend a lot of time sitting down coaching individuals, sitting down with groups of clients or sitting down at a computer writing articles and the occasional book. So I try to be really physically active the rest of the time. I spend 2 or 3 hours a week ice skating. I go to the gym 2 to 4 times a week. I walk the dog. For me, exercise and physical activity are not a chore – they are essential for my well-being.
An OUTSTANDING piece of advice to share about having a great life
I would encourage everybody to think about their deepest values and priorities in life and then to pursue those things rather than the things that your family or society may want for you. When I was in my 20s, I was very focused on getting a prestigious job, climbing the career ladder and earning money. Part of that translated into buying nice clothes and things. But over the years, I’ve become more focused on quality of life. Now my career is something that fits in around my life. Yes, I want to achieve things in my career, but they have to fit in with my family and my emotional needs, too. In terms of advice then, I would encourage everybody to think about what they really want. Whether it’s travelling the world, starting your own business, having children or anything else, make sure you give it a go. It’s better to try and fail than regret never having tried at all.
Well, those are my thoughts on eight OUTSTANDING topics. What do you think of the format? And feel free to share some of your answers, too!