Monday, June 27, 2011

My one hour blocks of life

If you open up your calendar and take a look at it, is your day divided in hours?  Each hour is filled with some activity?  I have wondered about this paradigm.  Why do my days have to be divided up by hours?  Do these activities and meetings really need an hour or multiples of hour to be executed?  I learned this lesson when I returned from the United States to take up an assignment in Singapore.

The team in Singapore had heard of me but I have not met them personally.  So I thought it would be great to get to know them better on my first visit.  Before I left for Singapore, I emailed my assistant to set up time with each of my direct reports.

The first manager came in at the appointed time and we chatted.  I asked her about her work and her interests.  We chatted on other topics and I felt the conversation went well.  It was about the end of the meeting when she asked me if I didn’t want to see her credentials, diplomas and certificates.  I was puzzled by that request and I asked her why.  She thought it was a job interview.  I asked her why she thought so.  She said that all the meetings with the managers were scheduled for an hour each.  It was so structured that she assumed that it was an interview to determine if she kept her job.  I nearly burst out laughing but kept my composure.  I told her that it was not a job interview but my way of getting to know them better.

I thought that it was just her perception about the “job interview.”  When the next manager came to meet with me, he too brought his certificates and diplomas.  I knew I had created a situation that I hadn’t intended.  This formal one-hour schedule seemed to have given them that perception.

I had been very used to setting my meeting and activity schedules in multiples of one hour.  Breakfast meeting from 7 to 8 in the morning; meeting with a client at 9; meeting with a manager at 10; and so forth.  Your calendar may look similar.  It seemed that this is the norm.

Later in my tenure in Singapore, I was struggling to manage my time better and trying to get more things done each day.  There were a lot of situations, issues and problems that needed to be addressed and dealt with.  Even with all the empowerment and participative processes, I am being stressed for time and energy.  I began to challenge my own paradigm on setting my schedules in one-hour time blocks.  I thought to myself that if I had a 10-hour workday, mathematically, I could only have 10 meetings or activities.  If I included lunch and transit time, it will be less than 10. If each meeting or activity addresses an issue or problem, I can only deal with 10 or less.  I had more problems than that.  This system cannot continue to work for me.

Do I always need an hour for each discussion or activities?  Some issues needed more time but some needed less.  For those that needed more time, I have short changed the people helping me solve that issue.  For those that didn’t need the hour, I had created some inefficiency to fill up the hour and thus wasted mine and my people’s time. 

I began experimenting with different time groupings.  I tried out 30 minute slots.  Mathematically, still assuming a 10-hour workday, I now can have as many as 20 meetings or activities.  Some meetings will still require two blocks of 30 minutes.  Working on this paradigm forces me to become more efficient with each meeting or discussion.  If I attended an 8 hour training session, I can still deal with 4 issues before the end of the day.

Personally I like the 15 minute block.  My team quickly got use to this 15 minute slots.  If they needed more time, they can schedule, for example, three 15 minute blocks.  I get productive and my people get productive too.  We are more succinct and precise with our time and focus.

I recently created a poll to find out how people organized their day.  I was pleasantly surprise to find that there were people who had organized their days in 15 minute blocks.  The number of people who responded to the poll was small and statistically not significant.  However, it is interesting that one-quarter of the people organized their day in 15 minute chunks.  Another 25% of the people organized their day by 30 minutes and the rest by the hour.  Another interesting revelation is that those who set their times by 15 and 30 minute slots are from the managerial ranks.  I leave you to ponder on this data.

I use an electronic calendar to manage my schedules.  At best they come in 30 minute slots.  Organizing the day by 15 minutes is challenging.  Still it will be worth a try.  We need to change our paradigm on managing our daily schedule.  Moving it to 15 minute block forces one to be more efficient with one’s time.  There is more to gain by trying.  The worse is that you return to four 15-minute chunks in your time management.  Let me know what you think about this paradigm. More importantly, enjoy your productive day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Work Life Balance

Many tried and have yet to achieve their intended outcome.  I recently watched the movie, “The Devil Wears Prada.”  The Art Director, Nigel, told Andy Sachs that when her whole life is up in smokes it means it’s time for a promotion.  Many executives struggle with that balance.  I know how torn they are.  All of them want to have a meaningful family life but are constantly drawn away by the demands of their work.  They want to be successful at work and successful at home.  Can the balance be ever achieved?

In a TED presentation, Nigel Marsh talked about work-life balance.  He mentioned a number of interesting thoughts.  One is that certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged on a day-to-day basis with a young family.  What troubled me most is when he said that one will achieve balance when you don’t have work or don’t have a life.  I am troubled because of its truth. 

Given these scenarios, do we have a chance at achieving work life balance?  There is a ray of hope.  Nigel Marsh also said that “If you don’t design your life, someone else may design it for you and you may not like their idea of balance.”

When I started my career the work was demanding.  I was fortunate that it didn’t take me away from my family for long periods of time.  In fact, I could only remember one occasion that I had to travel for a 3-week period.  I could spend my evenings with my family and didn’t have any conference calls.  While I worked in shifts, it still meant that I am home for the major portion of the day.  Work was stressful but when I left the office, I didn’t have to bring any home.  Well I did occasionally.  This is when the top brasses of the company are visiting and we had presentations to make.  Laptops were not in fashion and too expensive.  So any computer work is left on the table top in the office.  Come to think about it, the laptop may be a reason why we had to extend our work hours to the home.

When I got promoted, the company gave me a laptop and a mobile phone.  They call them tools of the trade.  These are the handcuffs that constantly connect you to the office.  There is no escape.  You are within reach with 11 key punches or less.  As the company grew and become global, my time and my family time reduced proportionately.  There were teleconferences that took me right to the wee hours of the morning.  We complained about these teleconferences but there is not much we can do about it.  Some conferences are useful while most were not worthy of our time.  With the ease of getting information, we are pulled into a situation where managers are pressured to providing “live” information.  This is a vicious cycle.  The easier it is to get information, the more information is required to be fed into the system.  This required many people to contribute into the information system on a continuous basis.

This is a small slice of the causes of imbalance.  The work has been redesigned to be in the office, have conference calls outside the normal office hours and for what small amount of time is left is to plan for the next day at work.  This leaves us very little or even no time for self and family.  The gravitational pull towards to requirement of the company is too large for us to resist.  As Star Trek’s Borg says to their captors, “Resistance is futile.”  We are caught up in the array of getting and sharing information that it has become our prime directives.  What can we do about it?

I didn’t have the answer to this imbalance.  However, I was more fortunate than many in that my promotions were not rapid.  When I reached a senior level within my organization, my children were late teens and requiring lesser of my time.   When I traveled, my wife accompanied me on most of the trips.  This is a worthwhile personal investment.  Regretfully, I neglected myself and the community.   In my earlier blogs I wrote about them.  One being “I goofed, you shouldn’t.”  At that time, my work and family were the most important.  I didn’t think much of dedicating time to myself and contributing to the community.  Now it is “payback” time.

I struggled with what you can gain from reading this post.  Everyone has different goals, different priorities, different situations, different challenges and therefore different ways to deal with their work-life balance.  I am responsible for my balance and its consequences.  In the end, I just left it to you, the reader.  You will have to create your own balance.  You may gain some insights from the experiences of others but it is all up to you.

For me, I position myself as the pivot of the balance.  I determine how large each piece on my balance is.  They varied from period to period.  In my early career, I had only two pieces – work and family.  In the later career years, work became larger than family and I faced the consequences as they surfaced.   So my balance varied from phase to phase in my life.  It was not easy but I had to take time to review them.  My reviews cycles were once in 6 to 8 years.  Now, work is the smallest piece, then community.  Family is now my largest piece.   I am looking forward to my next review at the end of the year.

Good luck in your work-life balance.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Amazing Entrepreneurship!

Vision for Success

On a recent drive from Penang to Kuala Lumpur on the Malaysian North-South expressway, my wife and I stopped at our usual rest area.  We have been stopping here as long as I can remember and have always patronized this one stall.   On our previous stop here, a couple of months earlier, we ordered our usual plate of curry noodles and chicken rice.  We didn’t see the man who normally took our order and I didn’t recognize any of the staff in the stall.  When we ate the food, we were surprised that they didn’t taste as good as it used to.  So we decided that we have to buy our meal from another stall.

During our stop this time, we walked down the stalls and were having difficulty deciding what to eat.  We found an empty table and sat down.  I walked up and down the stalls again.  On my way back to our seat, I saw this familiar face in the stall that we used to buy from.  I was excited and told my wife that the man is back.  She then quickly went over to the stall and I can see her having a conversation with the man.  She returned with a tray with two bowls of curry noodles.

She told me that she complained to the man that the food didn’t taste good the last time.  She inquired where the man went and he said that he was away developing another stall somewhere else.  The man offered to treat my wife and me to hot drinks.  I saw him going into the drink stall and soon, he came to our table with 3 drinks.  He sat down beside me and a wonderful conversation started.

Firstly he apologized for the food during our previous stop.  Then he began his story.  He told us that he had a total of 6 stalls along the highway.   He tendered for a stall when the highway opened in 1994.  Very few people wanted to bid for the stalls in the rest stops.  The thinking then was that people will not want to pay to travel of the toll-way.  Stalls were practically given away free.  He told us that his parents were upset and didn’t want him to slog it out.  He said humorously that they even offered him the money not to start his business there.  He knew that there was great opportunity cooking halal Chinese cuisine.  If the taste is good, he catered for nearly all races and religions in Malaysia.

I was amazed that this man had such a great strategy when he was expanding.  As he grew from one stall to two, he took staff from his first stall to start off the second stall.  This was a promotion for the key staff in stall one.  In this manner, the stall started being profitable quicker with the right staff.  When he started stall 3, he picked his key staff from stall one and two.  The third stall became profitable even quicker with the right staff.  He continued this process with his stall 3, 4, 5 and 6.  His start-up time became amazingly short.

He also mentioned that he partnered with another person to open a halal restaurant serving Chinese cuisine in a nearby town.  His partner, a chef, was nervous when he mentioned his intention.  However, on opening day, his partner was a busy man cooking dishes for a good crowd of appreciating diners.  He had worked with his network to help bring customers to his opening.  He organized buses to ferry them to his restaurant and back.  As a good gesture, he did not charge for his food during this day.  It is like his appreciation for their intended patronage.  Today, that restaurant is very successful and well known among the community.  Customers still come from the nearby factories and offices to patronize his restaurant.

This is an amazing man.  He left the academic world at 11 years old to help his father in his business.  This bright young man is a graduate from the “School of Hard Knocks.”  What impresses me is that if you meet this man on the street, you would not have even suspected that he is a successful entrepreneur.  I can say that he works hard managing the stalls and the restaurant.  He is highly successful because he is willing to invest in his people and partners to make them equally successful.  He is also generous in remunerating good people.  His staff trusted him to make them successful if they are equally willing to work diligently.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

You Stopped Doing WHAT?

Sounds familiar!  During difficult times, the leaders of companies are working frantically to come up with turnaround strategies.  It is during such times, that one receives directives upon directives to execute.  Some of these directives may not even make sense, but as a senior manager you had your orders to execute.

For some, your company may be doing better.  The vision is clear and well communicated.  The video playing in your mind is similar to that of your leadership.  In this situation, enjoy your journey.

For others, the journey is challenging.  I remember a game I played at a carnival, when I was young.  You may have played it too.  It’s the Whack-A-Mole game.  A mole pops up, and you are to whack it down.  As you progress, they pop up at increased frequency.  Soon you will miss whacking some.  The initiatives and directives coming from the leaders of your company sometimes feel like the mole popping up.  You whack and you whack but they keep popping up.  It never ends!

So how do you end it?  You can get more people to help you whack the moles.  But that is against the rule.  The rule is “do more with less.”  In fact, they may tighten the rule by tying up one hand or blind-folding you.  You can of course walk away from the game and end the frustration.  You risk being labeled with all kinds of names for walking out.  That may not be an option either.  You have your pride.

As manager in your organization, you have your role cut out.  You cannot be piling initiatives upon initiatives; strategies upon strategies; and actions upon actions on yourself and your team.  Something has to give.  So, before you make a decision or take an action, ask yourself or your team this question.

What have you stopped doing in the last couple of months to create capacity so your team can focus on new strategies, actions, and behaviors?

When I was working on the strategic planning for my unit, I asked myself this question.  I asked my team this same question.  I can feel a sense of relief when the question was asked.  Of course, I asked many other questions but for this posting I wanted to focus on just this one.  I was surprised at the responses.  There were so many activities that we were doing that are questionable.  On further investigation, I found that the actions were taken appropriately to address certain problems.  Over time the problems have been resolved or the conditions had changed.  We continue the activities because no manager stopped them.  The action did not have an expiration date.  We all have selective memory, so a good documentation of why we took an action is important.  It helped me when we reviewed the action.

Reflect on these concepts! 

1.      To do more, we have to stop doing some.
2.      Every action or activity introduced must have an expiration date.

"You stopped doing what," may be a great strategy to improve your output and productivity.  It is time to ask this simple question. Be mindful that the answers may be difficult and complex.  In the end, they can only help strengthen your unit’s strategy and execution and move your organization forward in the right direction.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Not How Many But How

Subtitle: Getting viewpoints.

I remembered a colleague who had an interesting approach to getting various views on the issue at hand.  Let’s call him James.   When he had a topic or pressing issue that needed a variety of opinions, he would seek out three different sets of views.  These views are at times opposing.  He said that this helped him developed a better solution and in a shorter time.

Getting in line to share idea?
James would stage the conversations.  I am his exploration person.  He came to me for building ideas.  He said, jokingly, that I am so “full” of it.  He would present his idea; my brain glows with excitement and I start building and adding to the original.

James will also find a person who will oppose and debate the idea with him.   He will pick a side for the debate.  He enjoys the debate.  The intensity of the debate can be quite daunting at times.  However, he said that the debate generated addition ideas, concerns, obstacles and other useful information that he may not have thought of otherwise.  He will also find a third person.  This person would be indifferent to the idea.  James will try to win this person over.  It is not a sales skill practice but really trying to understand the person’s need and determine if the idea will help this person out.

Now what was it that you disagreed?
James really has a wonderful process for what he calls rapid prototyping.  With each conversation, he modifies his idea.  In the end, the idea becomes more complete and robust.  When he prepares for his presentation later, he can position his pitch so the solution addresses a need.

It takes skill and courage to engage people to these types of conversations.  Even the exploration conversation has to be skillfully handles or it becomes unruly.  For me, the difficult conversation is the one that entails a debate.  I have to learn to distill the facts from the emotions.  So to build an idea it is not a matter of getting lots of views from people but the types of views.  You get them from people who are FOR, AGAINST and NEUTRAL to the idea.  I wish you a pleasant conversation.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Did Your Parents Praise You?

Sub-Title: The Power of Feedback!

In an earlier posting I wrote about “Who Should I Be.”  That article outlined a process of thinking, planning and executing your career aspirations.  Now, I like to talk about how I got to know myself better.   For me, an effective way to get to know me better is through good feedback.  Unfortunately, getting good feedback is difficult.  There is a tendency for the people I know not to give me the “real thing.”  Their feedbacks are mostly very general and tended to be statements that didn’t hurt me.  I, too, had the same difficulty of giving accurate feedback to others.

Culturally or maybe by superstitious practices, Chinese parents in particular do not praise the children. Some even give their children nicknames after animals.  There is Ah Kow (dog), Ah Too (pig), or Ah Goo (cow).  This is to ensure that the bad spirits will mistake them for the animals and not harm the children.  When others praise their kids, the praises are quickly dismissed.  The parents may be proud of their children but they will not say it out.  It becomes very difficult to know if your parents are proud of you.  I learn to identify certain behaviors of my parents that indicated good and not so good feedback.  My mother cooking my favorite dish when I visited her could be positive feedback.  Then it could just be love.  Mom doesn’t have to be proud of me to love me.  Her love is unconditional.

Great Speech! I am so proud of you.
Getting accurate feedback at work is just as difficult.  It is our tendency not to hurt another person’s feeling.  So feedbacks are softened with non-specific statements.  I know that those bitter “pills” will make me better in the future.  Unfortunately many of us are not good at giving effective feedback.  So should I disregard them even when they are non-specific?  Of course not!  I learn to ask questions to clarify them and to try to understand what the person really meant.  My questions are to clarify my behaviors or actions – what did I do on that situation and whether it positively affected them.

There are also tools and instruments that can provide information about one's behaviors, characteristics and traits.  These instruments help me understand my tendencies, my motivation and what “turns me” on.  They are not a one-time snapshot of me but more so, given a particular situation, how would I act or react.  It is interesting to complete these assessments and to see how well one correlates to the findings.  I have used a number of instruments.  Some are quite specific while others generally describe my characteristics.  I have used Myers-Brigg’s Type Indicator (MBTI), StrengthsFinder from Gallup, Caliper Profile from Caliper, Life Style Inventory (LSI) from Human Synergistics and others.  Whatever the instruments used are, they will be useful if it can be interpreted well, plans made and actions taken to improve oneself.  So to know more about your inner self, get yourself profiled with an instrument that is validated.  Get a knowledgeable person to interpret the findings.  Use the results to develop a plan to become better.  Then constantly ask for feedback to understand the effect your actions have on people and results.

Despite growing up in a culture that does not give good feedback, I have learned to “find” myself.  I get effective feedback by asking clarifying questions and using the information to continue to improve myself.   Remember that a good feedback will contain 3 important elements.  These are the situation that necessitates actions, the actions you took and the impact or result of those actions.  When receiving feedback or giving feedback make sure those three elements are there.  I wish you well in your endeavor to give and get good feedbacks.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I Goofed You Shouldn’t

Sub-Title: Your Network is your Networth.

When I was the head of training, I had developed a good external professional network.  Each week I would get a call from them asking me if I could speak or present at their workshop or conference.  With each request I became increasingly arrogant with the value to my network.  If I agreed to the speaking requests, I could have one each week.  So I began to be very selective.  Not only was I sought after, but also I could call on my network to seek an opinion or to get help.  I had a very good network – or so I thought.

My career responsibility increased when I became a senior HR executive. With each passing moment I got more immersed in my work dealing with the internal issues of the organization and region I was responsible for.  Alas! I started neglecting my network.  I didn’t contact them as much and likewise they didn’t contact me too. Being a strategic HR partner took a heavy toll of my time.  In any case, I told myself that I have a good network.  Even when there is much lesser contact, I pride myself that I could refresh it when needed.

Over time I lost contact with many of my external network.  I made a major mistake of neglecting my network and I didn’t figure this step in planning for my next lap.  I realized my folly too late as I have already left the corporate world and into my next journey.  Letters and emails sent to the addresses I had were returned.  It was a very frightening time for me.

I spend the greater part of the first year of my active retirement re-establishing my contacts.  I am fortunate that I had a few people I could still call on.  They helped me re-connect with those that I was looking for.  I learned about on-line professional networks like LinkedIn and Plaxo.  I joined these and started rebuilding and re-establishing my network.  I wasn’t an easy task.  I had planned to be coaching and facilitating workshops during this time instead of rebuilding my network.  

After a year of rebuilding the network, my coaching and facilitating activities increased.  Now I can say that my network is my NETWORTH.  They have kept me active with challenging assignments.  I am so thankful for them.  Today, I have added another goal to my other three.  (See previous article, “Planning My Next Lap”).  My goal is to have a minimum of one contact – be it an email, a phone call or a text message – to every member of my network each year.  I am glad to say that I have achieved it and will continue to work on improving it every year.  Right now, I am averaging 1.5 contacts per person per year.

I goofed and you shouldn’t!  Never neglect your network.  You could just send them your personalize New Year greeting not just those forwarded ones.  Personalized messages, no matter how simple, are more sincere.  It shows that you have taken the time to craft a message to connect with them.  When time comes to seek help from your network, they will be there for you.  I know that my network came through for me.  I am blessed and grateful to have such wonderful people in my network!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Planning My Next Lap

A reason for writing these articles is that it is meeting one of my goals set out for this phase of my life.  I started thinking and planning for it some 8 years ago and 2 years before I went into active retirement.  I thought it was as simple as practicing what I have learned.  First list what you want to achieve, then analyzed where you are at and finally chart out how you want to reach your goal.  I turned on my computer and tried listing.  I struggled with what I wanted to achieve.  There were so many things and it was all over.  After some time, I did the next best thing.  I listed what I didn’t want.

I didn’t want be just playing a game or traveling or enjoying a hobby.  I wanted more than that.  I wanted activities that are intellectually challenging.  I wanted to keep my mind active.  I read an article long ago that scared me into action.  In the article it stated that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop and the devil is Alzheimer.  I had personally experienced a loved one going through it and I wanted to delay or prevent this situation for as long as I can.

In 2003, I started plotting the NEXT LAP of my journey. The people who touched my life have taught me a lot.  I knew that I could rely on their wisdom.   So, after much conversations and deep thinking, I finally identified 3 things I wanted.
  1. Firstly, I wanted to continue to do what I did well in my career.  I was told by my managers, peers and staffs that I am good at coaching and developing individuals.  My 32 years of work experiences and targeted trainings have given me the skills to help individuals, who want to, move to a better position.  
  2. The second area is to have a more integrated life.  This is not the elusive work-life balance.  It is not taking time away from one activity to giving it to another.  For me, it is about integrating my own life, my family life, my social life and my community life.  My activities should be integrated as much as possible.  For example, how do I involve my family in my social activities or how do I involve my work in my community activities?
  3. Finally, share my experiences by writing a book.  I thought that I had enough stories from my life’s challenges to fill a book.
In some future stories, I shall write about how I did in each of them.  Since this article is about planning for my Next Lap, I will focus on this.

When I started this plan, I was still working in a corporation.  If I wanted to leave the organization in a good state, I had to ensure that there is a smooth transition.  It meant identifying activities for my functions and what I needed to do for the transition.  I made sure that I included developmental activities for me.  The chart showed a segment of the roadmap I created for my role transition.  I listed all my responsibilities down a column and drew out a time line for 2004, 2005 and Retirement Phase.  I then identified the actions needed for each functional area and the amount of time required.  Since this is a 3-year roadmap, I broke each year into quarters.  You may not be able to read the details on the chart but I am sure you understand the concept.  The dark green blocks were firm activities or plans.  Those shaded yellow were being worked on or negotiated upon.  This roadmap gave all parties involved a clear idea of my transitional plan.  I used this roadmap for my career conversations with my managers, mentors and friends.  After each conversation, some of the actions were modified and all parties concerned were informed of the changes.

This method can be used not only for planning retirement activities but also for any career and role transition.
  • I started with what I like to do in 2 years from now.  Well it was more like what I didn’t like to do.  I chose 2 years as I felt I had sufficient clarity to plan specific activities.  One year is too short for me to take the necessary actions for change.   You should choose a time range that you feel comfortable with to enact the change and transition.
  • Next I reviewed my strengths, skills and weakness to beginning charting my activities required for the plan and the transition.
  • Then I adjusted the length of time required for each activity.
  • Finally, I began my career conversations.  Talk to people that you trust will give you good inputs – as many as you can.  They may be your family, your mentors, the people that you work with and others.  You will know that you have a solid plan when the time comes.  If you don’t, so what?  Plans shouldn’t be locked in concrete.  It should be flexible enough to change with conditions and time.

Although it seemed simple, there were quite a bit of work.  The most important input to the plan is the conversations I had with a number of people.  I was candid in explaining to them what I didn’t want and wanted.  I asked them for their insights and the feedback on both the feasibility and the “feel good” factor.  Usually in such conversations, more questions were raised than answered.  The additional questions gave me new insights whether I could find the answers.

So start your planning your NEXT LAP now.  Talk about your plans frequently.  Be prepared to change them even after you feel you have the best plan.  The only constant is change.  With each change you will need to modify your plan.  Finally, enjoy the process!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh! What A Week.

What an exciting week it turned out to be.  At 2:00 pm on Friday, January 14th 2011, the number of views for my articles posted on this site reached 2,100.  This is a great motivation for me.  To some, this number is very small but to me it is an important milestone reached.  It is meeting one of my goals set out for my ACTIVE retirement phase.  To my readers and commenters, thank you for your connection.  I am also thankful to my friends who have forwarded the site to others.  Their support have helped increased the readership.
United States of America
Hong Kong
United Kingdom
Here is a breakdown of the location of readers. The numbers do not add up to 2,100.  These are the data that I could get from the Stats of the site.  I am pleasantly surprise with where my readers are located.  I still have my largest support in Singapore, Malaysia and the USA. My disappointment is that many of my friends in China could not access the site as it is blocked.  I will have to find a way to host a site in China itself.

Thank you for taking time to read my stories.  I will be even happier if you can write more comments on the stories.  If you like to write to me directly, you can reach me at
Look out for my next story – My Next Lap.  It is a story of how I planned for this phase of my life some 2 years before it happened.  In the meantime, have a great week.