Have you read the only and best user manual of your life?

“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”

Voltaire

What are the best ways to interact with you?

What are the warnings and pitfalls to avoid?

Where is your user manual to the world?

There are 2 areas in my life where I miss a user manual.

The first and obvious one for me is: how to be a parent?

Having kids has been one of the biggest challenges in my life.

Why did my kids not come with a user manual?

That is a question I have been asking myself for the past 3 years as my first son Noah Ali just turned three and the second, Elijah Omar, just turned one.

Yes, parenting could benefit from giving us a user manual of how to raise our kids to the best of their needs and the best of humanity at the same time.

The second and less obvious is the rest of the universe: the 7+ billion souls out there, including myself.

I have faced many situations of conflict, crisis, misunderstanding where things were complex because of misalignment with the other person.

I would have loved to have the other person’s user manual in all of those situations.

You know: reading the different “How to” sections, the “Warning and cautions” of how that other person operates.

As it turns out, I need to walk the talk first.

Indeed, I cannot expect other people to hand me their user manual if I don’t have mine.

In this article, I invite you to embark on this journey to create my user manual before your eyes.

I intend to inspire you to build your user manual and share it with the world.

My vision is that the world will be a better place if we can start every interaction, every conversation with the following:

Hello, nice to meet you. Before we go further, please take a minute to read my user manual.

I used this template for this exercise from Liminal Collective.

It is part of the templates provided here:

How to create a personal user manual for work | Atlassian

PART 1 — EXPLORING YOU

WHAT ARE THREE HONEST, UNFILTERED THINGS ABOUT YOU? WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU AND HOW TO GET THE BEST FROM YOU?

  • I am not a detail-oriented person: I hate to get to the atom level of things.
  • I love doing different things: I don’t want to be an expert.
  • I like to work hard and play hard. I don’t thrive in an environment where I cannot have fun.

WHAT DRIVES YOU NUTS? IRRITATES YOU?

I have realized that the universe is 90% outside my control and 10% in my power.

I am irritated with people who spend all their time complaining about the 90% and yet doing nothing about the 10% within their power.

HOW CAN PEOPLE EARN AN EXTRA GOLD STAR WITH YOU?

I make mistakes like everybody else. I love when people take the time to understand what drives me, even if they disagree with it.

Those who take the time to get where I am coming from and then give me a piece of advice will earn an extra gold star from me.

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE VALUES IN LIFE?

I did the exercise. I even wrote an article about it to list my 10 values in life. You can read it here.

Here is the podium:

  • Bronze medal: Forgiveness,
  • Silver medal: Love and compassion,
  • Gold medal: Health.

WHAT ARE THREE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD (BRING YOU BACK TO CENTER) WHEN STRESSED?

  • Have a safe space to express my feelings.
  • Have someone who can tell me to calm down, and everything will be ok.
  • Put things into perspective: Will this situation be serious in 1 week, 1 year, 10 years?

PART 2 — HOW YOU INTERACT WITH OTHERS

WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU?

  • Explain to me the context of the information you are delivering.
  • Explain how this is impacting you and how you are dealing with it.
  • If it impacts me personally, let’s do a one-to-one where you can give me more context.

WHAT ARE THE WORST WAYS TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU? I DON’T RESPOND WELL TO:

Don’t just do a top-down and ask me to apply because the management says so.

Don’t tell me one thing and act with the opposite.

Don’t lie to me because you don’t want to “hurt” my feelings; because I hate my feelings to be hurt. But I hate to be lied to even more.

WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO GIVE YOU HARD NEWS OR CRITICAL FEEDBACK?

I don’t like when you give me feedback long after the situation is gone. Wrap the feedback as a piece of advice and serve it to me a little bit warm. I don’t like it cold.

PART 3 — YOUR “WHY” AND MOTIVATION

WHAT ARE THREE THINGS YOU’D WANT THIS TEAM TO SAY ABOUT YOU AT YOUR FUNERAL (IF YOU WERE HIT BY A CAR TOMORROW)?

I have already written about what I want people to say about me. You can read it here.

3 things that I would be surprised to hear at my funeral:

  • He was selfish and only thought about himself.
  • He was a liar and only took things to advance his agenda.
  • He was a great person publicly but privately the worst son/husband/father/friend.

WHEN YOU ARE AT YOUR BEST, WHAT ARE YOU DOING (STICK TO ONLY 3)? I AM AT MY BEST WHEN:

  • I am best when I can be myself.
  • I am best when I can try, fail, and start over without judgment.
  • I am best when I see the impact of my work in the world.

WHAT ARE THE THREE CORE VALUES TO WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON?

I have already talked about my top 3 values above, an extract from my 10 values in life that I have written about here.

Courage (number 4), Humility (number 5), and Contribution (number 6) are part of my core values.

DESCRIBE A TIME YOU WERE REALLY PROUD OF YOURSELF:

Each moment I have to be a dad, each moment I see a smile in my sons’ eyes, I feel proud of myself.

Being a father has provided me with the most significant challenge in my life. Yet it is also what brings me the proudest moments in my life.

PART 4 — REMOTE USER MANUAL: HOW YOU INTERACT WITH OTHERS

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU WHILE WORKING REMOTELY?

It depends on the type of information to be communicated. If it is personal, I prefer a chat or a phone call.

In virtual meetings, I love to put a face behind the name. I like when people just turn on their cameras to say “hi” for one second and then turn it off.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PET PEEVES FOR OTHERS WORKING REMOTELY?

I hate long virtual meetings for more than one hour where I am stuck in front of my computer listening.

I hate it even more when people do a 3 hours virtual meeting without any break.

I love moments of human connections, sharing personal moments, even if it is virtually.

HOW CAN PEOPLE GET A “GOLD STAR” FROM YOU WHILE WORKING REMOTELY?

I love when people give me the means to do my job and provide me with room to deliver.

I am a trust-oriented person. I love my freedom and my autonomy.

If you focus more on impact and less on input, you will get a gold star from me.

There you have it before your eyes.

Maybe we will never work together professionally; perhaps we will never meet in real life.

If that is the case, maybe this exercise will inspire you to create your user manual.

If you are about to enter in interaction with me or worked with me in the past, let me introduce myself again:

Hello, nice to meet you. I am Ahmadou. My friends call me Mad.

Before we go further, please take a minute to read my user manual.

If you find this article of value to you, please like it and share it within your sphere of influence.

#Dare2Care #Dare2Share

#BIOS #BringInyourOwnSoul #LeadHeartship #Leadership

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