Why Ask Why?

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By JP Chartier

Not only should you ask “why” when a problem occurs, according to Sakichi Toyoda, you should ask “why” five times to ensure that you reach the root cause of the problem. Sakichi Toyoda developed the “Five Why” technique after starting the Toyota Motor Corporation to enable technicians to quickly establish the real problem.

It’s human nature to ask “why,” but generally we tend not to ask “why” enough times. Toyoda found that asking “why” five times is usually enough to get to the real root of the issue.

Here’s how it works, you simply start at the problem and keep asking “why” until you reach the root cause. By repeatedly asking “why,” you peel away the layers of symptoms exposing the real issues that need your attention. Usually, you’ll find that the root issue is a process that isn’t working well or one that doesn’t yet exist.

There is an extension to the “Five Why” technique that you can apply called the “Fishbone” or “Ishikawa.” There are templates you add to the Fishbone that will help you discover root issues for business applications. To learn more about the Fishbone technique click here: http://www.bulsuk.com/2009/08/using-fishbone-diagram-to-perform-5-why.html

Here is an example of the “Five Why” technique (courtesy of medscape.com):

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So the next time you’re facing a problem, remember asking why only once usually wont get you to the meat of the problem.

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Job Sucks? This Is What You Do

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By JP Chartier

It’s Sunday night, and you’re about to go to bed, a brand new work week is only hours away, how does this make you feel? If you answered this question with words like: crappy, depressed, miserable, unmotivated, uninspired or angry, then it’s a safe bet that your job sucks.

It’s time you did something about it!

A few months ago, Gallup released the findings of their “2013 State of the American Work[place” poll and it’s grisly. According to the Gallup study, 70% of Americans either “hate” their jobs, or are “completely disengaged.”

This is a damn travesty and doesn’t bode well for mankind!

I know this was a poll on the American workplace, but I checked around and those in Europe and Canada don’t fair much better. Most people dislike their jobs and it’s a global epidemic!

So how does one start doing work they actually enjoy?

CREATE A LIST OF “PROS” & “CONS”

So you’ve come to the conclusion that your job sucks.First things first – lets make a list of all the things you like about your job, and all the things you dislike about your job. The object here is to get all this down on paper (or in the computer) so you can see them all together and contemplate them. You may find by comparing your pros and cons, that you really don’t have it too bad after all.

I found a pretty cool pro/con calculator here: http://www2.elc.polyu.edu.hk/cill/tools/prosandcons.htm to help you with this. You simply type in all the good and bad about your job, then you rank each of them 1 – 5, with 5 being something you feel strongly about. When you’re through with all this, it gives you a score which helps you decide if you should stay or go. You can use this calculator to help you decide anything, not just jobs.

REALLY EXAMINE WHAT IT IS YOU WANT TO DO

Now you have some real information before you, by completing the list above you now have a better understanding of what it is that you truly dislike and like about your job. Take the time to really examine and contemplate this list.

IT TAKES MORE THAN PASSION

It has been said by some really intelligent people that if you can find work that you have a passion for, you will never work a day again in your life. Some out there will lead you to believe that passion alone is all you need to succeed and be happy, but I disagree with this. Take for example the contestants on American Idol, they all no doubt have a deep passion for making music and becoming famous, but if all they have is passion and not any talent, they will most likely fail.

So passion is not all you need.

You need to ask the right questions so your passion doesn’t have you sprinting in the wrong direction, effectively wasting your life. Remember, there are millions of folks out there who work at a job they don’t especially love but they use their free time after work or on weekends to do what they have passion for.

CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE

I always thought that when I found myself in a less than desirable situation, it was in my best interest to remove myself from said situation/job immediately. But when the discussion is centered around quitting your job, that’s a major life-changing event, so it makes no sense to take such a dramatic move without thinking deeply about the alternatives first, and then decide some sort of “leaving strategy.”

But there is another way to look at it, without taking such dramatic steps, just change your perspective of the views and opinions you’ve formed about your place of employment.

Is it really that bad? Or is it that your attitude just needs a little adjusting? The way you perceive the events around you throughout the day will determine your well-being, and directly effects your health too. Maybe all that is needed is some basic knowledge on how to learn to handle the way you let what is happening effect you and your thoughts?

TALK TO THE DECISION MAKER

Why don’t you consider the options for making the job work before leaving. Speak to the person who makes the decisions- your boss, the owner etc. and talk about a transfer, a change in hours, or something along those lines.

A FEW THINGS FOR YOU TO CONTEMPLATE

When you’re struggling with a job you hate, it can seem like the end of the world. The key to your survival is having a vision beyond the troubles of today. Enduring a job you hate by trying to force yourself to love it isn’t necessary, and you don’t need to have all the answers for the problems either. You just need to cope long enough to find a new job.

Below I’ve listed a few suggestions that will help you cope with your less-than-ideal job. Who knows, you might even find that things aren’t all that bad after all.

  • Set small goals for yourself
  • Perform one act every day that will bring you closer to your dream job
  • Think about the possibilities your job can lead to
  • Give yourself something to look forward to at the end of the day, or week
  • Try cultivating some work relationships
  • Take breaks at work. I notice hard-working people all the time not taking their breaks, and I see that it affects them negatively. Your body and mind need the break. Take your lunch break away from work if you can, just getting away from work for 30 minutes or an hour can really help with your attitude
  • Take care of yourself. Everything else we do affects how we feel at work. If we don’t get the proper amount of sleep, or we’re not eating right, our work life will suffer guaranteed.

PREPARE FOR DEPARTURE

Ok, so you’ve done all you can do and you believe that it’s in your best interest to find another job. So now it’s time to plan your escape! Start a secret job search while you’re still employed. Here are a few search programs to help you in your search: Indeed, Simply Hired, Link Up, Job Central, US.jobs, Career Jet, JuJu, Mployd, Just Jobs and Job Miner.

TAKE FLIGHT!

You’ve done all of the above and you’ve decided that this job really does suck and you can do better somewhere else. You’ve got another job lined up, it’s just a matter of leaving your old job and starting the new one. Do your future self a favor and give them a two-week notice.

REMINDER: Have you done something today that will move you closer to living the life of passion you desire? If not, what are you waiting for?

7 Tremendously Audacious Women

By JP Chartier

I recently wrote an article called “7 Terribly Interesting People” (which you can read here http://wp.me/p3MMo6-a7) that told the adventurous tales of 7 men. In the article I’ve written here, I focus solely on the ladies.

Without further ado, I now bring you “7 Tremendously Audacious Women.”

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Nellie Bly (1864-1922)

Nellie Bly was the pen-name of American journalist and adventurer, Elizabeth June Cochrane. As a journalist, Bly would go to almost any length to get the story, once she faked mental illness so she would be admitted to Bellevue Hospital, a mental institute in NY, so she could write an expose about the abuses there. After the release of the expose, many positive changes took place at the hospital, making Bly famous. Two years later, chasing yet another story, Bly set a then world record by circumnavigating the globe in 72 days, beating the fictional account in Jules Verne’s novel, “Around the World in 80 Days.”

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Renata Chlumska (1973- )

Chlumska was the first Swedish woman to climb Mount Everest. During 2005-2006, she took the “Around America Adventure.”  Starting out in Seattle, she paddled a kayak down to San Diego, CA, where she hopped on a bike and with the kayak in tow, rode to Brownsville, TX. From Brownsville she was back in the kayak, this time paddling across the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida, then onward up the east coast of America, all the way up to Maine. Back on her bicycle once again, Chlumska pedaled from Maine, cross-country back to Seattle! I bow down to you Mrs. Chlumska.

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Kira Salak (1971- )

Unlike Nellie Bly, who took on adventure to sell articles, Salak does it not only because she’s adventurous, but because she likes to prove the people wrong who told her she couldn’t do it. Salak has ventured to some of the worlds most hospitable places, like when she hiked around Africa mostly alone, ultimately ending up in the middle of a civil war! She holds the record for being the first documented person to Kayak alone down the Niger River and was the first woman to backpack across Papua New Guinea. Salak’s life of adventure includes surviving wars, coup attempts and life threatening bouts of malaria and cholera. She has explored several countries like Iran, Rwanda, Libya, Burma, Borneo, Uganda and Peru. And finally, Salak is an excellent writer who has penned several books about her adventures. What an amazing woman!

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Annie “Londonderry” Kopchovsky (1870-1947)

Kopchovsky was a consummate self-promoter, and a skillful creator of her own myth, who became a global celebrity after bicycling around the world alone, the first woman to do so. During her bicycle journey, she hunted tigers, was caught in the Sino-Japanese War of 1895 (where she was imprisoned), was robbed and even shot by a Chinaman during the trek. Here’s an excellent article about Annie http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0828/p20s01-algn.html

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Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz (1936- )

After several failed attempts at pronouncing Krystyna’s last names, I gave up! I just refer to her as “KCL” now. During 1976-78, KCL became the “First Lady of the Oceans” by sailing alone around the world, a feat which comprised 31,166 miles and 401 days. Check out this article about her here http://en.poland.gov.pl/?document=1982

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Mary Kingsley (1862-1900) –

In the photo above of Mary Kingsley, she looks like your average everyday 19th century loving housewife, whose only adventure is gardening on the weekend. Oh how photos can lie!  Kingsley had an adventurists soul, exploration and adventure were not seen as fitting roles for women in the Victorian era, but this didn’t stop her. She arrived alone in a very dangerous Africa in 1894 to study the natives and to study “cannibal” people. Kingsley had all sorts of adventures while in Africa. Here is a more detailed look at this courageous lady http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Kingsley

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Rosie Swale-Pole (1946- )

I have saved the best for last, for Rosie Swale-Pole has got to be the “World’s Most Amazing Woman!” She is an author, adventurer, marathon runner and motivational speaker. In 2007, she completed a 5-year around-the-world run covering an incredible 20,000 miles, and she did it while in her late 50’s! Earlier in her life, Rosie did the following: She sailed around the world with her husband and child in the 70’s in a 30′ catamaran covering 30,000 miles in two years. Later in 1983, she sailed solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a small 17′ cutter, where she was nearly killed during a violent storm that swept her overboard. As if all this weren’t enough, “The Amazing Rosie” rode alone on horseback through the entire 3,000 miles of Chile in 14 months. She almost starved to death after becoming lost in the southern rainforest. In 1987, Rosie walked through Wales, sleeping in a tent and carrying a backpack for 1,375 miles. She has also ran through the following countries: Romania, Iceland, S. Africa, the Balkans (nearly killed by robbers), Cuba and Nepal. The list of amazing feats Rosie has accomplished are by no means all covered here, her life reads like a female version of Indiana Jones. I not only bow down to you Rosie Swale-Pole, I admire and look up to you, you are a LEGEND! Click here for more about Rosie here http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosie_Swale-Pole

7 Terribly Interesting People

By JP Chartier

Listed below are seven terribly interesting people. Their heroic achievements stand in direct defiance of the accepted standards and behaviors of the time, which is what makes them so intriguing. They did things most only talk about or dream of. They had the courage to stare life in the eyes and demand more from it, a normal human existence would not be exceptible!

Included on this list are individuals who braved through impossible conditions to conquer their dreams and ultimately inspire people like myself.

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Mike Horn (1966- )

Horn is a Swiss explorer and adventurist. He became famous after completing a solo journey around the equator without motorized transport. He then completed a two-year circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle by himself. In 2006, he and a Norwegian explorer named Borge Ousland became the first men to travel without dog or motorized transport to the North Pole during permanent darkness. He also led a team on a three-year, around the world voyage called the Pangaea Expedition. During this teaching and study trek they used only a yacht, canoes, kayaks, bikes, paraglides, skis and a sail boat to explore the South Pole, Australia, Asia, Russia, Iceland, Greenland, the Himalayas and the North  Pole! Because of his life experiences and gift of gab, Horn is sought after today by sports teams and businesses for his motivational skills. Here is a link to learn more about Mike Horn at http://www.mikehorn.com

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John Goddard (1924-2013)

Goddard has lived an unbelievable life, dare I say, quite possibly the most amazing life ever! When he was 15 years old, Goddard decided that he would not live a life filled with regrets, so he wrote down a bucket list of 127 things he wanted to accomplish in his life. This list includes climbing the worlds most perilous peaks, navigating its major rivers and exploring its most remote regions. Here is the link to see his bucket list http://www.johngoddard.info/life_list.htm  You’ve got to see it, he’s marked off everything he accomplished, unfortunately he wasn’t able to complete the whole list before his death, though he got very close. More about his incredible life here http://www.johngoddard.info/

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John Fairfax (1937-2012)

Fairfax was an ocean rower and adventurists who in 1969 became the first person to row across an ocean by himself. In 1971 he became the first person to row alone across the Pacific Ocean. Besides rowing across oceans all alone, Fairfax was quite the adventurists in all aspects of his life. At 13 years of age, Fairfax left his home in Argentina to live in the jungle like “Tarzan,” where he survived by hunting and bartering skins with local peasants. At 22 years old, Fairfax drove across America to San Fransisco, when he ran out of money he returned to his mother in Argentina by bicycle! Then a short time later he fell in with pirates and was apprenticed for the next three years in the smuggling of whiskey, cigarettes and guns. After escaping from the pirates, Fairfax became the first person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, a feat which took him 180 days. During the journey, he had to dive underneath the vessel to clean off the barnacles, while chipping away underwater, a shark tried to attack him but Fairfax ended up killing it with his bare hands and a large knife! Two years later, he and Sylvia Cook became the first people to row across the Pacific Ocean, and they did it in 361 days. Learn more about the fascinating life of John Fairfax here http://www.oceanrowing.com/Oceanrowers/fairfax.htm

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Lakpa Tsheri & Babu Sunuwar

These two men are listed together because the two of them went on the ultimate adventure in 2011. First they climbed the largest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, then the two of them paraglided of the mountain down to sea level, a 45 minute flight.  But this was just the beginning of their journey, after paragliding they bicycled to the headwaters of a mountain stream which led them to the Kosi River in Nepal. From the Kosi they paddled to the Ganges River in India, then finally onward to the Bay of Bengal, a 37 day trek. Here’s more about their quest http://blogs.canoe.ca/parker/tag/lakpa-tsheri-sherpa/

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Ranulph Fiennes (1944- )

The Guinness Book of World Records says he’s the World’s Greatest Living Explorer, enough said. Fiennes undertook several expeditions and was the first person to visit both the North Pole and South Pole by surface, and he was the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot. At the age of 65, he climbed Mount Everest, becoming the oldest Briton to do so. Despite suffering a heart-attack and undergoing double bypass heart surgery just four months prior, Fiennes completed seven marathons in seven days on seven continents! On top of all this, he is also a prolific author, politician and speaker. Check out http://www.wideworldmag.com/2010/03/16/sir-ranulph-fiennes-part-1/

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William Montgomery McGovern (1897-1964)

McGovern was an American adventurer who was credited for exploring uncharted areas of the Amazon, Peru and the Himalaya’s. He reported on the Mexican Revolution from the front, then became a Buddhist Priest, all by the age of twenty. When WWII broke out, he served four years operating behind enemy lines at Guadalcanal, and during the closing days of the war he crossed the Rhine with General Patton. McGovern was a very intelligent man and could speak 17 languages. Here are a few of the other professions he dabbled in: He was a professor at Northwestern University, an anthropologist, a journalist, lecturer, military strategist, plus the author of several books. And it is reputed that he was the inspiration for the character Indiana Jones. All I can say is, what a life! Learn more here http://www.northwestern.edu/magazine/spring2010/feature/williammcgovern.html

The seven men I’ve listed above are great adventurists, however they aren’t household names like the Lewis & Clarks or the Marco Polo’s of the world, but great adventurists who lived life to the fullest none the less.