by Cathleen Jacinto, SE, PE

With the holidays upon us, and as you hopefully find time to recover from recent project deadlines, it is a good time to rebalance. Is there one area in your life you would like to improve upon? Start small. Perhaps reach out to one old friend once a month, or insert a daily task planning session into your calendar.

“A new discipline immediately alters your life direction. You don’t change destinations immediately, but you can change direction immediately.”

The above quote by Jim Rohn is taken from his book Leading an Inspired Life. He defines discipline as “those unique steps of intelligent thought and activity that put a lid on temper and a faucet on courtesy; that develop the positive and control the negative; that encourage success and deter failure.”

He provides three keys to discipline:

1) Awareness of the need to make necessary changes

2) Willingness and eagerness to maintain your new discipline deliberately, wisely, and consistently

3) Commitment in daily life

So start the process of mastering one small discipline. Then move on to another. This places the focus on building your character, your work ethic, and who you are becoming, slowly through small disciplines. As Mr. Rohn states, “whatever good things we build end up building us.”

Cathleen_JacintoWe are excited to announce that we have hired Cathleen Jacinto, SE, PE, to expand the technical content for SE University™. This will include additional information to further enhance the Innovation Hub of the SEU Resource Center™ as well as technical content for web seminars. Cathleen was the author of the Coordination Checklist for Elevator Design.

Cathleen worked as a structural engineer in Chicago for 14 years, including 10 years at Thornton Tomasetti and 4 years at T.Y. Lin International. She has a BSCE from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) and a Master’s in Structural Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). A licensed SE and PE in Illinois, Cathleen lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two daughters.

She can be reached via email at Cathleen.Jacinto@LearnWithSEU.com, or you can also connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/cathleenjacinto.

How much time do you spend in your car each year? Why not take advantage of “windshield time” to improve your skills and knowledge? I learned this idea from Zig Ziglar, who was a well known salesperson and sales trainer, and have found it to be very helpful. (I started implementing this back when cassette tapes were the medium used.)

I must admit that there are times when my 2 children wonder why they get subjected to listening to these presentations, but my hope is that at least some of the ideas will take root in them.

There is an abundance of material available for you to learn from depending on your interests, including technical presentations related to structural engineering.

One of my favorites is “The Art of Exceptional Living” by Jim Rohn. I keep this in my car and listen to it several times a year. Here are a few of my favorite thoughts/quotes from Jim…

– Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.
– Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills.
– You don’t get paid for time, you get paid for the value you bring to the marketplace.

Please email me suggestions of your favorite learning material. For the first person who emails me their personal learning favorite, I will send you a free copy of either Jim Rohn’s CD, “The Art of Exceptional Living,” or Dale Carnegie’s Book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

In a future article, I will include the suggestions I receive from you.

In the meantime, order something educational for your “windshield time” today, and have a great October!

Technology exists today that is helping improve the process of shop drawing review. Engineers who utilize the Model Review technology are finding they are improving the quality of their review, in addition to saving time and having more fun. Once implemented, most engineers comment how they would not want to go back to the former processes.

This new process is also increasing the level of collaboration between engineers and fabricators/detailers. It is important to reiterate that technology such as this is simply a tool that facilitates a better way of working, but at the core of this must be the desire from both sides to increase collaboration.

The feedback from engineers who have implemented these new workflows has been very positive. Erleen Hatfield, P.E. and Partner at Buro Happold in New York, had this to say about her experience in utilizing this new technology: “When fabricators are willing to send us models as the shop drawings instead of the traditional 2D paper drawings (we call these ‘shop models’ since ‘shop drawings’ doesn’t really fit anymore) we know the review process is going to go much smoother and significantly faster.”

If you would be interested in learning more about how this technology could help your firm, please visit our Model Review Resources page. You can also contact Brian Quinn, P.E., at 616-546-9420 or by email at Brian.Quinn@LearnWithSEU.com.

I recently saw a great video from a blog post by Craig Jarrow at TimeManagementNinja.com.

I would highly recommend you invest 20 minutes to watch this inspiring talk from Admiral McRaven at the University of Texas Commencement from May 2014…

I recently received an email from Anthony Fasano (Institute for Engineering Career Development) that had a link to Darren Hardy’s presentation titled “Productivity Strategies of Superachievers.” This is an incredible presentation and I highly recommend you carve out 90 minutes to watch it asap. There is no cost and I’m confident you will get immediate benefits. Click below to watch the YouTube presentation and enjoy a more productive and fulfilling life!

As a continuation of my discussion last month on Dale Carnegie’s famed “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book, I wanted to focus this month on the chapter titled “You Can’t Win an Argument.” In this chapter Dale notes that “nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each of the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right.” Therefore, you can’t really “win” an argument because if you are correct you lose and if you are not correct, you lose.

This reminds me of great advice I learned from listening to recordings from Zig Ziglar. Zig talks about how once someone tells you “no”, you won’t get them to change their minds. Do people change their minds – YES, but only because they “make a new decision based upon new information.” So, to get people to see/understand your point of view better, you will need to provide additional information so they can make a new decision based upon new information.

Here are some suggestions from Dale’s book that come from an article in “Bits and Pieces” about how to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument:

  • Welcome the disagreement
  • Distrust your first instinctive impression
  • Control your temper
  • Listen first
  • Look for areas of agreement
  • Be honest
  • Promise to think over the opponents’ ideas and study them carefully
  • Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest
  • Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem

Happy Reading!

“So what is it that people need and want? People need and want a satisfying experience of life. Over the past three years I have asked more than ten thousand respondents, ‘If you had to choose between balance and satisfaction, which would you choose?’ Not a single respondent chose balance over satisfaction. People want to live deeply satisfying lives both personally and professionally.”

The above quote is taken from Matthew Kelly’s book, “Off Balance, Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction.” I re-read this book on a recent trip and found it to have multiple thought-provoking ideas and suggestions. In the book, Matthew takes a closer look at the “Work-Life Balance” discussion, and relates it back to specific steps you can take to explore this balance in your own life.

In my experience, structural engineering is a very challenging profession on multiple fronts. There is the stress of knowing that designs for structures must keep people safe, and that any mistakes could have life safety impacts. In addition, the ever present threat of lawsuits always lingers, along with constant pressures to work faster and meet compressed schedules. Therefore, having a good system to deal with the pressures of work while creating a fulfilling life is critical.

In his book, Matthew Kelly outlines a helpful “process” for increasing your personal and professional satisfaction level (as engineers, we tend to like “processes”). There are five facets to this process:

  1. Assessment
  2. Priorities
  3. Core Habits
  4. Weekly Strategy Session
  5. Quarterly Review

I definitely recommend this book, and have incorporated many of its suggestions into my own life. The book is only 137 pages and is an “easy read” to fit into a hectic schedule. It’s available on Amazon for about $17, or $15 for the Kindle edition. Why not invest less than $20 to help improve your life?

Have a Magnificent March!

Have you subscribed yet to the free emails from Craig Jarrow, author of TimeManagementNinja.com? If not, you owe it to yourself to do it NOW! Craig does a wonderful job of posting useful information that can help you in many areas of your life, both professionally as well as personally.

Here are a few of his top posts for 2013…

21 Ways to Define a Positive Attitude

29 Ways You’re Wasting Time Today

6 Ways to Empty Your Head and Get to Bed

10 Big Differences Between Goals and Dreams

12 Apps I Use Every Day to Be Productive

If you have already subscribed to this and have found it beneficial, please let me know.

Have a Wonderful and SAFE Holiday Season!


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