Society Magazine

Who Am I and What Do I Need - Round 6 1m23s

Posted on the 25 September 2012 by The Contender @The__Contender
Who Am I and What do I Need - Round 6 1m23sWho am I, what am I good at and what do I enjoy? I personally found it helpful to write down what I am good and bad at. What I like and dislike. These are some of the questions I asked my self when I started to build my life plan.
I was never going to excel at music for example. So why kid myself that I could have the patience to learn the saxophone and accept being merely average? Would this be a good use of my spare time? In my opinion I would be better adding a new useful skill that does not require mastery and meets my needs instead of desires?
I like making things but dislike finishing them to perfection (another reason not to be a musician:) I know my personality and how I interact with people is unique and what makes me.  My personality has some rough areas that need some work on. I can always improve.
MUFF is a thirty five year old. An engineer by trade, I like to be practical and put things into action that is a key part of this blog. I am:
    1. creative
    2. problem solver
    3. analytical
    4. have an end result in the real world
    5. enjoy what I do
I have always been a numbers guy and interested in sciences so I have to accept I am never:
  1. Going to be a famous writer or sports star (really only a very small % of society excel in these areas)
  2. Pander to people's every needs and be the best shoulder for someone to cry on. I am a direct person who wants results. I want to get things done which can come across as forceful and sometimes insensitive.
  3. Complete things (I am a firm believer in the 80:20 rule 80% of results from 20% of the effort). Perfection produces diminishing returns and you only have a finite time on this planet (saxophone player is definitely out for me) . This is to the annoyance of Mrs MUFF who believes in 120% all the time. She is coming around to my thinking now that we have 2 kids. A rounded approach to bringing them up instead of trying for the perceived best of everything such as enrollment of the 3 year old in every extra activity we come across. And no we are not going to make them learn the saxophone.
I  have done some serious work on my interpersonal skills. Here are some areas I have worked on:
  1. Listening to others and trying to understand their point of view (Professional training and NLP Workbook and Listening - a self Teaching Guide books)
  2. Simply my presentations (Communispond professional training - click here for their site and blog))
  3. Thinking about how other people would use any solutions that I have developed so that they buy into rather than reject them.
I needed to understand who I am and what my main drivers were. I carried out a similar exercise to the one set out next (based on project management training see the Project Workout):
1. Plan
   Listed my strengths and weaknesses
   Chose the areas I want to work on
   Listed my desires and dreams in life
2. Do
   Created goals and objectives
        Made sure goals are SMART Specific that can be measured it is achievable, realistic and timed
3. Check
   Checked the objective are aligned to needs and plans for happiness
4. Act
   Cleaned up the goals and objectives
   Created actions for each goal and track progress
Who Am I and What do I Need - Round 6 1m23sThis keeps on changing due to our circumstances. Becoming a dad  threw a curve ball at me - it is the most astounding of all of the "new" challenges I had to consider.Lets have a look at each of the 4 parts of the plan:


First I listed my own perceived skills and weaknesses (I started 9 years ago and self perception is a wonderful thing :). From my initial self evaluation:
  1. It was a reality check - I was still single at the time, had no real savings, no home a career that was going too slowly for my liking and debt from university and a car loan. I had a lot to learn, although I had grown up a lot, I was still a little immature (too much partying).
  2. Helped me crystallise what made me happy - friends, exercise and entertainment (at the time)
360 degree feedback became all the craze in work. I received self evaluation from someone else view. My attention was drawn to my weak listening skills through this process. This was hindering my career progression. I would have not realised this without the feedback of my colleagues. I addressed this weakness straight away through practicing active listening and still am to this day.
Elsewhere I have learnt to listen, observe and question more effectively.
By listing my short, medium and long term goals it has helped me to be more future orientated. Consumerism and short term thrills started to loose their appeal. I realised they were not helping me/us reach our longer term goals and desires.


Taking my "brainstorm" list 9 years ago - I then had to do something about it. I set myself some objectives which were vague to start with. Start investing, buy a property, get married, get promoted. I wrote these objectives down and thought about steps to make them happen. Looking at what I needed to do was actually quite depressing at the time. The list was very long and I had not made much progress.
As I have covered in previous posts I read up on each subject - for instance Getting Things Done and the 8th Habit. I then started to started to action my objectives. What I still did not have was very precise plans and time lines to actually make them happen. At that point in time I progressed into project management. This changed my world.
Vague objectives were transformed into concrete timed actions. A plan and review process were put in place and results followed. I started to make significant progress whilst was still enjoying life but importantly I stopped wasting money.


In the last few years the MUFF Tribe has reviewed and changed the objectives a few times. A few of the objectives dropped all together we could do with out the - for instance the Chateau in France and home cinema system. They would not impact our needs at all. The reason for dropping some of these BIG goals - MUFF and the missus started to consider what was really important. As something to benchmark against we reviewed Maslow's Hierarchy of needs (see previous post):
1. Physiological - breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis (body in balance) and excretion
2. Safety - Security of body, income \ employment, resources, morality, family, health, property
3. Love Belonging - friendship, family, sexual intimacy
4. Esteem - self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others
5. Self - Actualisation - Morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts
So I checked and prioritised our objectives against this list.


Once the objectives have been cleaned up in the Check step above, it was time to put them into action. Each objective can be broken down into several steps and milestones. These form the basis of your plan which you will review on a regular basis.
The MUFF Tribe review both family and financial goals at the same time on the last Sunday of Each Month.
We sit down when the kids are in bed with a nice glass of Italian or French wine and go through the MPH (Muff Plan for Happiness). The review uses three key tools
  1. The combined spreadsheet of the MFFP (Muff Financial Freedom Planner) and MALP (MUFF Awesome Life Plan)
  2. A paper calendar - update social events, holidays, key meetings etc.
  3. A Whiteboard - Used for the weekly plan (meals and activities) along with an immediate to do list. The White board is placed in a prominent location in our kitchen.
You may ask why so regimented? MUFF has found through several years of work and life challenges the following advantages are seen for Mr and Mrs MUFF:
  • We are truthful to ourselves- no procrastination allowed we have no time for that :)
  • We do not have any surprises which could lead to arguments. Money is always a hot topic and having it reviewed by the same process each month with joint responsibility on actions. It takes the emotion out of it.
  • The regular reviews keep our lists and plans on track
Just to finish on I would like elaborate on why I am sticking to using paper tools for a calendar and to-do list.
  •    they are accessible to everyone
  •    you can physically interact with them
  •    they are generally simple and space limited
  •    Easy to update
  •    If you spill coffee on them you can cheaply replace them
  •      You can hang them on a wall put them in your bag etc.
I used to have one a fancy personal digital organisers (now we have advanced mobile phones etc.). I found that it took longer to maintain the digital device than complete some tasks. The tasks were less likely to be completed \ reviewed. I found that it was time consuming to modify and difficult to add ad hock comments \ doodles quickly. The generally small screen is not ideal for the whole family to look at. You cannot readily leave and display it like a poster so everyone knows where it is and can interact with it.
In my opinion a nice piece of paper, a notebook or a whiteboard is the best medium for a checklist, to do list or a calendar.
These are my humble ideas on how work and personal life skills can go hand in hand. I will use these principles for to the planning tools on this site.
Keep safe

Who Am I and What do I Need - Round 6 1m23s

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