Who is in charge (personal mission?) By Mostafa Zommo
On page 24 of our first ever issue you'll find a six steps guideline for new graduates and anyone seeking to climb the corporate ladder. The story is inspired by Mr Mostafa Zommo, former Chief information officer (CIO) at a 100 Billion dollar organization and now a special advisor to the president, Shared Services Canada. Born in the troubled Palestine's and moved to Canada as a young man, Mostafa understood early that he had to work harder than the next man and to date, he has been a leader in every position he has held wherever he has been. He's represented his adopted country at international arenas and his career is matched by few in the Canadian public service. Mostafa is a shining example to aspiring migrant youths in Canada and all around the world. He continues to play a motivational role within the Canadian public services in general so we were pleased when he sent us his latest blog post to share with you all. Enjoy Not too many people wake up one morning and say, “What is my personal mission?” That’s to say, “What is my reason for existence and am I really conscious of what I do on a daily basis, or do I move through my day mechanically, even mindlessly? To what degree am I on autopilot?” When you get up and leave your home and all of a sudden you find yourself at your office, you don’t even recall how you got there. You were on autopilot. Sounds a little scary, doesn’t it! It’s even scarier when people run their thoughts on autopilot (auto-thinking); they say negative things without even being conscious of what they said. Sometimes they realize it and genuinely regret it. “Did I say that?” they murmur to themselves. Sort of begs the question, “Who is in charge?” Who is piloting while we are not conscious? A question for the ages, but we are not without help!
Here is what I do: I try to slow down and stop my mind’s auto activities. I may catch myself judging others, even things, thinking to myself that a person is too thin, too tall, too short, ugly, way overweight, or this and that. “Shoot!” I say to myself, “You are at it again!” I am on autopilot and need to stop immediately and calm my mind; often a good look in the mirror would do it. I literally tell my brain, “Stop it!” I think some learned people on the subject call this ‘internal dialogue’; it is kind of like having a good chat with yourself! It is not madness; I do it often, especially when I am driving, but then again, maybe it is madness! Often, I try to go to a happy place: imagine a flower, recall the face of someone I love, or imagine a smiling baby’s face. Or, I start singing a song I like quietly in my head. I find that this helps to calm my brain’s auto activities, to reduce the noise, and it gives me more control over my thoughts and actions to make life more meaningful and much more enjoyable!
The irony is that this checking becomes more automatic with time, but my brain feels stronger when it is quiet! So ask yourself, “Am I in control? Am I really ready to silence my brain actively and take charge of my life journey?” It’s not too late; as the Chinese wisely say, “Life begins at 60”. Don’t make the choice of doing nothing; choose to be in charge of your life. That’s what makes us the true royals of the animal kingdom—our ability to make sound choices, whether at work or in our personal lives.
I believe that controlling your internal dialogue is the secret to controlling your external dialogue with the world. It solidifies your foundation and sets you on a course for a well-balanced life journey. The happier you are on the inside, the happier you will be on the outside. My best and most rewarding choices have always been related to making life fantastic for my family, my friends, my colleagues, myself and anyone around me—that includes the rest of the world. Choose to be positive no matter what and see the result; the true secret is to make these choices with NO conditions.
Now, when you are a leader and are responsible for others, this self-awareness takes on a new critical importance. Your associates look up to you and are either inspired or discouraged by your words and actions. Frankly, being responsible for others’ performance is an honour but, more critically, it’s an awesome responsibility. We should take the time to understand those relationships and spend the time, no matter how busy we are, to look after our colleagues, give them guidance, review with them their performance and help them realize their full potential. Your words and actions toward them can make the difference between success and failure, excellence and mediocrity, even happiness and sadness.
I assure you that nothing can stop an excited, engaged and inspired individual from achieving the impossible and, as Steve Jobs said, “Bend the curve of time towards excellence.” I know that you all know that. This is just a reminder as I, too, need to be reminded myself! Over to you my friends!
By Mostafa Zommo
Big thank you to Mostafa Zommo for sharing his thoughts with The African Perspective Magazine. Over to you my people.
Image courtesy of Ignacio Hennings