3 months has passed just like that. In fact, this is my last ‘3 month’ semester break for me, as the next ‘3 month’ break I most likely have, is a self-declared one. Next year, I would have graduated (hopefully). That said, I have to utilize this final 3-month wisely and not let it go to waste.
Early this year, I already had in mind what I wanted to do for this break. Unlike my other friends, I didn’t though of applying for an internship through school, as most of the internships they sourced, even though is related to my course, I have no interest in.
Furthermore, I don’t need to fulfill any ‘internship requirements’ for my course. That means I can source for any internship I want.
On other hand, I also thought of applying for a temporary job somewhere which can pay me a thousand plus per month, to stuff my bank account with some pocket money to last me the next school term.
All this is what I already planned to do at the start of the year… but all these didn’t materialize when May comes, which is when my break starts.
Because I’m presented a better opportunity!
How it all began…
Going back to March this year, my beloved NTU Toastmasters Club invited a well-known corporate team building trainer and professional speaker to give a 2 hour talk and training session to NTU students.
He is Kenneth Kwan, the Managing Director of Deep Impact Pte Ltd. Many big companies like Energizer, P&G and Symantec and government ministries like MOH, MINDEF hire him for team building programs to help their people change their behaviors quickly to attain peak performance levels and achievements in short periods of time.
In short, he is a highly sought after (& highly paid) speaker whose calendar is packed with appointments and training programs. So it’s a really great honor to able to invite him to NTU. All thanks to the NTU Toastmasters and our then Area Governor William Tang for connecting us to him.
Kenneth gave us a content-rich, high-energy talk on how to connect emotionally with the audience when we give a speech. I was blown away. I’m glad that I attended it even though I didn’t have class that day (means I travel to school that day just for this talk). The event proceeded well, and before the event ended, Kenneth came up again to announce “I’m looking for an intern for my company” .
Wow. That was when the opportunity arise.
Many rushed up to Kenneth to pass their details to him. Like them, I also passed my details to him, hoping I have a chance to work with him. He told us he will contact us for further information.
Long story short…
I met up with him for an interview and days after that, while I’m still having my examinations, I was told I’m selected! Good news in the midst of my examinations, I just can’t wait for it to end, and start working!
So after exams, I started working!
How It Deeply Impacted Me
I can go on to share what I did for my internship chronologically, but I think that’s quite boring. Rather, I will share some of the things Kenneth shared with me all this time, which I think is worth recording down and sharing all of them here.
I recorded a whole list of things (like a diary) he taught me, but let me just share 4 here…
1. Be serious in whatever you do (especially when you’re young)
Kenneth shared with me that before he become a professional speaker and trainer, he first started out as an emcee, hosting many kinds of events like his church orientation games, and university beauty pageants. Then, he never thought of going into speaking and training.
But what he did is that he put in effort and be serious in every emceeing role he is given, and that makes him a very good emcee, which helped him a lot in public speaking and engaging audience when he become a professional speaker and trainer.
When we are young, we are asked to do many things, like organizing and planning events, taking part in competitions, or even putting up a simple performance. Though we may think as ‘sai kang’ (or shit work), but who knows, these ‘sai kang’ can provide us with skills important for our future?
So let’s be serious in whatever we are doing now, as it does help in what we might do in the future.
2. Always think of adding value to your clients
Kenneth specialize in teambuilding for big MNCs or government bodies, and working by his side, I can say he received multiple enquires for his services every day. Business is doing well, but sometimes, we have to reject some enquiries.
He taught me to always think of adding value to our clients, instead of thinking about earning money from them. If we can’t think of adding any value, then don’t promise or close the deal. Reject it.
“What? Got money don’t want to earn ah?”.
That was my initial thought, as that was what I see what most training companies out there are doing. They seemed to be able to train almost Everything that you ask for.
But Kenneth continued, “Narrow your focus and go deep. Don’t try to be everything to everybody, or you will be a nobody”.
3.There is time for everything
We live our life so fast, that we want the ‘short-cut’ to everything, but not everything we want can be ‘short-cut’. As I am going into my final year of university, Kenneth advised me to study hard and make full use of my final year.
A really hard advise to take, as u all know, I didn’t really care about what I do in school for the past 3 years. But thinking of it, there’s not much chances for me to be a student again. This is my (only) time to be university student. So taking this advice, I plan to make this coming year the best school year ever!
Likewise in our daily lives, there is time to play, time to work, time to relax, time to ‘chiong’.
That said, I can say that my internship covers all the above. There is a period when there are programs consecutively for 1 whole week, keeping us busy everyday. But there’s also time when we just relax and have fun together.
That’s how life should be, isn’t it?
4. We will leave this world one day…
…but what’s more important is what you left behind in the world when you left.
In July, Kenneth lost a very dear friend of him to a heart attack. He is Dennis Ng, a popular Personal Finance TV personality in Singapore. When news broke out about his death, every one was shocked, including me.
I heard of him and read his books in the past, but thankfully through Kenneth, I got to meet him personally at his Park Mall office, when Kenneth was giving a talk there. He was a very nice person to talk to, and love to crack jokes along the way.
During the 1 hour with him, I learned a lot about him, his life journey, and of course, some finance and business tips from him. So it’s quite sad to hear about the news…
Now he has left the world, but he left behind a wealth of knowledge on teaching people how to manage their finances well, and helping them to achieve financial independence.
Coming to think about it, it’s somehow about the life we have in our years, instead of the years we have in our life. Let’s live a purposeful life. As what Steven Covey, who also passed away in July, said, “Leave this world better than it was when you got here”.
Why I love working with Kenneth
On a personal note, I can say Kenneth is one of the best bosses I have worked with. Actually I don’t work under a lot of bosses anyway, but I have my best time working under him.
It’s my first time working under someone who has achieved so much results, written books, appeared on media, and who has travelled around to impact lives and organizations.
I used to have a belief that these people love to flaunt their wealth, talk at you (not to you), have high egos and only talk to people of similar status.
(This is because I have personally known and seen some ‘success coaches’ who love to talk about success, life principles, telling people what to do in their lives, but they themselves are doing the complete opposite. I have also seen them achieving their ‘success’ using undesirable means, then going out to preach and declare their ‘success’ to the world.)
But it all changed when I worked with Kenneth. He’s more like a great friend, a mentor who guides me in whatever I do. We share everything openly. In fact, he never want me to call him boss. Lol. I just love this culture of low power distance, open communication.
He is authentic and humble and I have my utmost respect for him. Not because of his achievement and status, but the way he lives his life. Thank you so much Kenneth!
On the other hand, I’m also given the freedom to think and to work. He doesn’t restrict me to do things his way, but rather, he wants me to think of ways to get things done. Can be tiring to my mind sometimes, but when things are completed, I’m quite impressed by the amazing things my mind has achieved.
At the start of the internship, he also promised to expose me to his work as part of him adding value to me to learn how to present, negotiate and close deals with clients. And yes, he did bring me out to see the world!
I’m exposed to different things during these 3 months, like meeting company CEOs or Directors (for team building programs), Permanent Secretaries of Govt Ministries (during Kenneth’s keynote speeches), visiting high-end hotels/restaurants (site-visit for events), helping out team building activities, and also doing social media marketing.
I must say he must be taking a lot of risk for bringing me (a rookie) out to his business meetings (Who knows, some clients might not like my face and I may affect the deal…), and also handle some of his projects. I think I did well (ya… I think so!)
I would say all these things that I have done may not have done to perfection, but I have to thank Kenneth for his patience. Also luckily, I think I didn’t screw up anything serious (did I? Haaa…)
In all, a really enriching 3 months. Thank God for this rare opportunity, which I won’t exchange anything else for it.
And I just couldn’t thank you enough, Kenneth!