Day 12 – Create Your Bucket List

Day 12 of the Better Man in 30 days challenge – Create Your Bucket List

Currently working through my bucket list – aptly (if I say so myself) tagged 40 things by 40 seeing the 40th birthday is the next major birthday on the horizon – and no I am not 35 yet..Β Closed out a few things already some of which include making CEng, losing 20kg and taking a boat ride down the Chicago river. A few stand out as sore points on which I have made zero progress whatsoever on – visiting the children I sponsor via WorldVision and reading every book that has been awarded the Man Booker prize being prime examples.

Deciding to take action on getting on the Advanced Materials PhD program I have made loads of noise about but done bugger all to progress. Fired off a couple of emails to profs at one of the Universities I’d be looking to study at.

Fingers crossed.

Day 10 – Memorize ‘If’

Day 10 of the Better Man in 30 days challenge – Memorize ‘if’

Two upsides to exercising the memory stood out from the prompt – improved writing and a more interesting personality. Unfortunately, I am blaming my mental fatigue from the last month of swotting exams for my less than stellar performance on this challenge. The plan – if I can call it that – is to keep plodding away at it till the end of the month. If I succeed, and I work up the courage, I just might place a recording of the poem from memory on here..

As for Day 9? Sometime over this weekend that should get done and dusted.. If all fails, there’s always Nandos πŸ™‚

Day 8 – Start a Journal

Another one which was on the plan for 2014 in any case – middling performance not withstanding. The app of choice is DayOneΒ – on my Mac, iPad and iPhone. The choice of time is first thing in the morning, hopefully that will help set the tone for the day and help kick off the day introspectively.

Fingers crossed, the next few weeks will tell how this latest iteration goes.

Day 7 – Reconnect with an Old Friend

Day 7 of the Better Man in 30 days Challenge – Reconnect with an Old Friend

The challenge was to reconnect with an old friend, by letter, email or phone (not Twitter). Cheated (slightly) as I did my reconnection over iMessage. A tad more in keeping with the spirit of reconnecting than a letter given the back and forth of instant messaging I think.. Or not.. Claiming this as done though, regardless. πŸ™‚

Day 5 – Cultivate Your Gratitude

Day 5 of the Better Man in 30 days challenge – Cultivate Your Gratitude

Quite a few things to be thankful for, in no particular order:

  1. Friends who consistently come through. Needing to make a significant wire transfer earlier this week, a quick call to a couple of old chums resulted in a speedy resolution. Top lads C and O.
  2. Family Β – warts and all. And mine, myself included, do have warts!
  3. J whose patience with my stuttering, complicated self is a refreshing breath of air;
  4. Work – and the opportunities it has presented over the last ten years and counting. A certain stint somewhere in my past still keeps opening doors. Grateful.
  5. The internet and how easily it provides solutions – stumbled on an excel tutorial on spark-lines which might have saved a side project I am working on. Not one of the things I miss about those heady Eket days it must be said.
  6. (Not so) Little children, particularly F, my friend O’s precocious daughter. Hanging with her gives me hope for the future. I am not too damaged to make a half decent dad.
  7. Success in one more exam, no lengthy post nominals to append to my name unfortunately but small steps in the right direction I think.
  8. Health – no new major scares (as far as I know).
  9. Great work conversations – currently talking an old work friend through a weighty decision. That she and I are still in contact nearly five years after we last worked together is so much more reassuring given my current work situation.
  10. And Nandos — ’nuff said.

Day 4 – Increase Your Testosterone

Day 4 of the Better Man in 30 days challenge – Increase your testosterone

The ‘symptoms’ pretty much describe me at the moment, even though I like to think the drivers are slightly different for me, given I am chasing a lot of things at the moment. In an ideal world, #9 would have been the perfect shoo, but real life dictates, and I went with actions 6, 7, 8. Lunch was a Boots salad bowl whilst dinner was grilled chicken topped up with almonds as a snack.

#1 and #4 are long term targets which I have consistently failed to achieve. Thanks to this challenge the focus on sleep length (and quality) and meditative journaling is one I need to bring back. Come the end of the month, one hopes I’ll have better news to report on that score.

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Day 3 – Find a Mentor

Day 3 of the Better Man in 30 days Challenge – Find a Mentor

Β —

In thinking through today’s challenge, I realised there is a shed load of historical mentors I had to acknowledge – the Artful dodger (so nicknamed by his own father no less) whose MO always seemed to be to stay just on the right side of the law at all times (he was the inspiration to go into engineering), OO, the social studies teacher who intervened when yours truly was nabbed trying to pilfer a book from the secondary school library, Dr K at the Steel plant where I interned in 2000 who sowed the seeds of an appreciation for materials in me and DEL and MMK who held my hand as I took my first shaky steps as a rust geek back between 2003 and 2008. All that is part of why mentoring and mentorship are core values I intend to hold on to dearly both as a giver and a recipient.

For today’s challenge, three gentlemen stand out.

  • OO’s a bloke I count as a friend. We connected strongly from our first meeting when I made the move up north after Newcastle. He has featured heavily in my professional life since then, providing much needed guidance when I first set off on my quest to make CEng. Β He has successfully made the transition from working in Nigeria, returning to school for graduate studies and excelling at work after that. A big bonus is that his (now) nine year old daughter keeps me well grounded, providing a much needed connection to my inner future father.
  • K leads the tech team I volunteer with in church. As a fellow introvert, he continuously impresses me with how he goes out of his way to draw out the more introverted team members, ensuring that our often soft voices are not lost in the bedlam of decision making. In addition to his responsibilities as Tech Team leader, he manages to juggle work (at an employer of the same ilk as UX5), and a young family.
  • F is someone I am less familiar with but who from a distance fits the template – slightly older, married with a young family and succeeding professionally, topped off with being the lead pastor at a church plant just outside town. Our interactions have been limited to the context of a publications team I volunteer with at church.

My action – and I’ll pop back in here to update on how it’s gone – is to set up a face to face with K and kick off an informal mentorship as OO already counts as one in a sense. On the balance of the evidence, I need a few non-church/ work pals. Wild, young and free (single) men apply within… πŸ™‚

Day 2 – Shine Your Shoes

Day 2 – Shine Your Shoes

Shining my shoes is usually not top of my to dos on any given day, given I consider them functional items of clothing rather than providing any aesthetic value. Notwithstanding, in the spirit of the challenge I decided to give my favourite, battle hardened Doc Martens some love.. From the looks of it, there’s still some life left in those beasts. Given my sense of pride and accomplishment upon completing today’s task, I suspect I’ll strut about a tad more than usual in the office tomorrow. πŸ™‚ Or maybe I’m just being overly enthused with my dodgy technique..