Year of the Dragon – 2012

In Chinese tradition, every year is dedicated to a particular animal. The 12 animals that are a part of this tradition are the Dragon, the Horse, the Monkey, the Rat, the Boar, the Rabbit, the Dog, the Rooster, the Ox, the Tiger, the Snake and the Ram. Each of these animals is believed to bestow its characteristics to individuals who are born in its year.

According to the Chinese astrology 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. And true to the animal’s nature, the Year of the Dragon is expected to be marked with excitement, exhilaration, intensity and unpredictability. The drama and spirit of the dragon is expected to inject vitality, energy and unbridled enthusiasm which could easily lead individuals to throwing caution to the wind. It is especially important to take care this year, and avoid unnecessary risks that could lead to tragedy.

The dragon year is a special year for excellence and Chinese astrology dictates that dragon people are expected to excel during this year. The Year of the Dragon is special in many ways. For one, you will find that the dragon is the only unreal animal featured in the Chinese zodiac year. What’s more, the dragon is revered and has a special place in Chinese astrology. In fact, the dragon is generally of special significance to Chinese people.

History

The Year of the Dragon can trace its origins to over 4,000 years ago. During this time, China was formed by two very large tribes and many smaller tribes. An animal represented each one of these tribes. When the two larger tribes decided to unite, they decided that their emblem would be the dragon as a symbol of power. Today, Han Chinese still call themselves descendants of the dragon.

The Dragon

Because its body comprises of parts from different types of animals including fish, tiger, eagle and snake, the dragon is regarded as a powerful and mighty king in Chinese astrology. Unlike the perception in the west of a threatening evil being, the Chinese dragon is regarded more as a symbol of power, protection, authority and superiority. As a result, in many places in China, you will find numerous sculptures and carvings of dragons.

The Dragon Personality and Dragon People

Chinese astrology deems a dragon person as special. As such, individuals who are born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon typically stand out and enjoy a status befitting a dragon. Such persons are generally regarded as being wise and powerful. They are not shy, but instead command respect and attention with their passion, courage and self-confidence. In short, dragon people have a certain aura about them and seem to enjoy very good fortune.

Dragon people are generally regarded as doers as they are able to achieve power by taking action and getting things done. These individuals at best will have pioneering spirits, but at worst, their foolhardiness will easily get them into trouble. Dragon individuals are smart, enterprising and generally have a wicked sense of humor. If you want to remain updated on the latest trends, consult dragon people as they have a flair for fashion. Just as the fire-breathing dragon, dragon people are generally thought to be hotheads. It is therefore wise to steer clear of them in the event that they get angry!

In contrast however, because dragons have soft underbellies, dragon people are thought to have soft spots as well. As such, you may find a dragon person easily angered, yet capable of great compassion for those who are in need of their help. This contrast is further illustrated by dragon people who can be confronting, but if you touch their soft hearts, they quickly become worthwhile allies. In addition, they are generous – although this is a positive thing, it can easily turn problematic when they become foolhardy with money.

Dragons have long tongues which they often bare and make visible. In turn, dragon people are generally said to have sharp tongues that make them say things that can be very sarcastic and biting to whomever they are directed to.

2012: The Year of the Dragon

The Year of the Dragon 2012 will begin on January 23rd this year, which marks the beginning of 15 days of celebration. January 23rd is actually the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year which typically occurs in the early months of January or February.

In accordance with the Chinese horoscope 2012 will be ushering in the Water Dragon. The water works in calming the innate fire of the dragon. As such, water dragon people are more open to others opinions and are better able to channel their charisma into leadership qualities. Celebrities born in the Year of the Dragon include Al Pacino, John Lennon, Matt Dillon, Marlene Dietrich and Ringo Starr.

If you were born in a Chinese Year of the Dragon, then according to feng shui 2012 is your year. But what does this mean? Well, first, you should double your efforts in whatever you do – be it your work, studies or any other projects you may be working on. And once you do this, you will find that your natural abilities and talents will easily stand out and enable you to achieve great results. It is also important to watch your temper in 2012 to avoid ruining all your hard work this year.

The Dragon and Love

Because dragons are passionate, they tend to fall in and out of love just as quickly. With their charm and charisma, they are able to easily draw the attention and admiration of individuals of the opposite sex which is what dragon people crave. While they tend to treat love like a game, when they meet the right partner who is strong enough to match their strength, they can settle down.

Wealth in the Year of the Dragon

If you are looking to start a business or begin a new project, the Year of the Dragon is the time to do it. This is because money is more easily accessible for everyone this year – whether you earn, borrow or receive it as a gift. However, avoid unreasonable expenditures as you will have to account for these once the Year of the Dragon comes to an end.

From Dragon Boating to Business Managing

Dragon Boating is one of the sports that when you’re having fun with it, you’ll dedicate your life to it. From there, you and your teammates can read each other’s mind, communicate with each other without verbally saying anything. It’s that amazing!

If our 8 hours a day at the office can be spent as if we are on a dragon boat, making sales numbers at work will be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.

Here’s how

1. Teamwork to achieve One Goal

Dragon Boat – One goal and that is to win the competition TOGETHER. The front paddlers keep good timing, the middle paddlers serve as the engine, and the rear paddlers stay back to react to unexpected circumstances.

Making Sales – One goal and that is to win the deal TOGETHER. Different teams focus on different tasks. In an IT firm, business development team defines business strategies while system developers contribute speedy and quality of work. All standby for unexpected circumstances that come at anytime.

2. Steersman stays low profile at the back

Steersman is key to lead the Dragon Boat goes straight during the race. However, such an important person stays at the very back of the boat. Business leaders define missions and visions for the group, but he doesn’t need to be a star at the front row seat. Successful leaders stay low profile to coach employees rather than micro managing every single matter.

3. Drummer controls the pace

Drummer needs not be strong and muscular, rather he needs to be small but energetic. Drummer controls the pace, but he’s not setting the pace based on his own will. His responsibility is to maintain the pace with lots of considerations – team strategy, paddler’s strength, competitor’s performance, unexpected circumstances etc. He is there to cheer up, keeping everyone proactive and to maintain a positive mental and emotional condition.

As for the business leaders, they are setting goals not from his own will, they should be defining goals that the team members are willing to achieve even though there are challenges all over the place. His role is to coordinate and coach the team members to a point that they are proactively reaching their own targets in all circumstances and at the end achieving the team’s goal.

4. Not to distract by competitors

During a race, knowing competitor’s position is important, but each team has their own tactics based on their own strength and conditions. Do not distract by others when your team is behind. The others may slow down when it’s your time to switch gear.

– Stick with the tactics that has been communicated before the race started

– Trust and follow the beat set from the drummer, he takes lots of consideration (both external and internal) to set that speed. Trust that the drummer will adjust the beat when experiencing unexpected circumstances.

– Each race lasts only couple minutes, pay attention to the timing. Once the beat is off, it could cause a major destruction to the team performance.

Same concept for business management, just change the word ‘race’ with ‘pitch’, and ‘drummer’ with ‘leader’. Stay focus to the goal, trust your teammates and not rushing the projects. Keep in mind that rush and speed have different meanings, quality tells it all.

5. Practice, practice and practice

Practice makes perfect. The 2-minute dragon boat race takes up months to prepare. During the practicing period, members get to understand each other’s behavior, set expectations, trial and error to optimize paddling skills and at the end getting everyone’s mind in sync.

There is no difference to win a sales pitch. The team could go through couple rounds of failure before winning the first pitch. Those are the times when team members get to know each other to have their minds in sync.

Conclusion

I’m a weekend Dragon Boat paddler at Wu Kai Sha, Hong Kong. I believe each person is unique and no one can live alone without interacting with others. I believe Dragon Boating is one of the sports that connects everyone together regardless of race, age, gender and religious believe. Initially, language could be a temporary barrier for team communication, but once the team is formed, we’ll create our own team ‘language’. Verbal communication takes only 30% of our communications, the rest of the time, we read each other’s mind without saying a word.

I spend 40 hours at work every week, way more than the 5 hours dragon boat training during the weekends. Yet, the 5 hours I spend on the dragon boat has generated positive insights to my 40 hours work.

Is your Boss a Dragon Lady?

Is your boss a Dragon Lady?

Everyone has had a bad female boss or two in their day.
But have you ever worked for a DRAGON LADY?
What’s a Dragon Lady boss, you ask? Here are a few examples of what a Dragon Lady boss does:

There’s the tale of a boss that did not pay her workers before Christmas vacation and then called a meeting at 9 a.m. on the day after New Year’s. She opened the meeting with a condescending ‘So, did Santa give you everything that you wanted?’ and then she scanned the room and told each of her paycheck-less employees what their New Year’s resolutions should be.

Then there’s the boss that hosts marathon, back-to-back meetings without providing coffee or even a glass of water for the captured.

Who can forgive the boss that demands that you complete a task and then works behind your back to make sure that your task never reaches its completion?
Oh, wait, there’s one more–that boss that works you like a slave for pennies and then constantly tells you that you shouldn’t ask for a raise because ‘we’re in this together.’

Urban legends, right? Nope. These Dragon Ladies do exist, and unfortunately, the aforementioned examples were all the same woman.
She used to be my boss long ago.

My boss is long gone now, but she has had an effect on my life: Because of her, I strive to be a mentor, not a TORMENTOR of the professional women that I work with on a daily basis.

The way I see it, someone must stick up for the nameless, faceless, female worker bees. And the women who have made it must reach back to mentor others. It doesn’t take much to dole out candid advice about how to polish a professional image, and ultimately work their way up the corporate ladder.

And when it comes to Dragon Lady bosses, it’s up to the powers that be to clean house.
After all, if you’re a business owner, Dragon Lady managers are running your young female talent out the front door. If you’re an entrepreneur that conduct business with a Dragon Lady business owner, it’s possible that her overworked, abused team won’t give you their best.

If you want to succeed, you’ve got to send the Dragon Lady packing, Corporate America.
You’ve got to clean house.

Cleaning house, that is, re-grouping and re-evaluating what employers/managers/partnerships, etc., are meeting your expectations, is an uncomfortable but necessary task if you want to keep your business afloat.

Pride, principle and office politics can surely get in the way when it’s time for you to clean house, and believe me, female entrepreneurs may know this better than most. Nevertheless, there are two golden rules to follow when you clean house: 1). Always cultivate the roses; and 2). Always pluck the weeds.

Here are a few tips to help you determine if there are weeds hiding in your rose garden:

How to Spot a Rose
(Employers/vendors/partnerships that you cultivate)

She is competent, and confident instead of controlling. She can assign a task and not feel inclined to follow up or micro-manage.

She is an agile, multi-tasker that responds swiftly to new challenges.

She is a self-starter, a continuous learner, and leader; she may implement a company-training program.

She has new ideas that, when implemented, positively influences the company’s profitability.

She comes to work on time, and will stay longer if needed.

She is respectful and works well with a group of subordinates and alone.

How to Spot a Weed
(Employers/vendors/partnerships that you pluck)

There’s a high turnover rate in her department.

She writes numerous disciplinary memos; she has increased rates of employee absenteeism.

She rarely, if ever, suggests a subordinate for a raise or a promotion.

She is a disruptive whiner that inspires others to be whiny and disruptive. Or, she is an intrusive micro-manager that demands your full attention at all times.

There is evidence of alcohol or substance abuse.

Loyalty and truthfulness are concepts that she knows not; especially when it comes to her subordinates.

In her mind, badgering is essential if an employee is to complete a task.

Dragon Lady managers will drain your business unnecessarily, if you let them.
Consult with your HR director or a trusted employee rights attorney and clean house immediately; attempting to humor a Dragon Lady and/or delay the inevitable is a waste of time and energy.

On the other hand, good managers will produce more return for every employee that they supervise, because they realize it is in their best interest to award and promote subordinates accordingly.

The good manager is usually found among the movers-and-shakers in business, entertainment and politics, and often convenes to connect, network and impart her wisdom.
Sometimes she may seem hard to find, but she’s out there.
And if you’re a female professional, your work life will be fulfilled if your paths should ever meet.
Carpe Diem.