Monday Musings : Accidental Shifts

How a series of accidents led me to finding my voice and confidence.

Most people who worry, hide from the world. They are often too scared about a lot of things. Instead of opening their arms to welcome life, they hide in caves filled with doubt. I too worried a lot, from reliability of the mall to other mundane stuff. As I child, I knew one thing well and that was to run. Run away from people, experiences and opportunities. It wasn’t until I stumbled several times that I realized that I should stop.

Survived swimsuit + Q&A with the help of chocolate

I was quite an insecure child who had little passion for anything school related except for English and Science. It was in my last year when I grew tired of attending classes (Hi Mom!). I was a bit of a smart ass (or that is what I thought then). I figured if I joined most of our school competitions, I would not be questioned for my absence in classes. I joined a lot of school competitions, from slogan making to a Bible quiz (where I surprisingly won first place and made my mother extra proud) but there is one incident that changed me.

One morning, I noticed the poster for extemporaneous speaking competition so I signed up thinking it would be another valid reason to not go into my classes. I remember the question was about Overseas Filipino Workers. I didn’t think through it but I just spoke my mind. It was a first for me to speak up my mind in front of judges. With my friends I go all out but I rarely spoke in a crowd ( only when my teacher called me to answer) so when they announced that I won a place, I was in shock. This incident, made me think about my speaking skills. I pushed it aside after that and went back to my introversion.

2009, I was already 22 years old and going through my first heartbreak. Despite my sensitive feelings, I did not want to be the loser. This thought led me to go on what I thought was a suicide mission. Perhaps you thing what an exaggeration but for an introvert it really felt like that! I told my mother that I wanted to join a beauty pageant. I figured winning a crown would be an ultimate slap to the ex boyfriend’s face. My mother was supportive specially because she had already been asked by her friends way back when I was in high school to let me join one. She asked her friends to do a major makeover!

Survived swimsuit + Q&A with the help of chocolate

I was so keen on having the best revenge that I worked hard to train in heels. Unfortunately, the first pair of heels broke because I was so stiff! I traded rice for oatmeal and did 200 crunches in the morning and another set in the evening. From boyish, I went through a major transformation (think Princess Diaries levels except I don’t have a queen for a grandmother and was surrounded by gay guys).It was the first time I wore two piece swimwear and performed a talent in front of a huge crowd. June came and it was already the finals night, I ended up winning first place and it was after that I realized that in the process of getting revenge, I have recreated a bit of myself. From super awkward girl to somewhat a more confident one. This led to my career in the beauty pageant industry and gave me the chance to compete and win a place internationally.

Accidents happen around us on a daily basis. We usually try to avoid them but life just brings it to us. I am not talking about car accidents but those life experiences that we do not usually plan out. If I closed off from unfamiliar experiences, I doubt that I would be as happy with myself as I am now. Let us not close out our selves from these because these unplanned moments usually turn us into someone better.

My First 90 Days in A SPACE Cebu

If someone would ask my 10-year-old self if I would take the role of leading the start of a branch for a company, I would say “Impossible!”. However, I am not that 10 year old kid who is scared of the world anymore. I have changed beyond 180 degrees from who I was, that is why when I heard about A SPACE Inc., I thought to myself that it would be me break to hone my skills in leadership. A perfect opportunity to grow and allow myself to experience a different kind of work culture. Luckily, they are nontraditional risk takers and our founder, Matt, decided to take a chance of me.

It is different when apply for a job just for the sake of being employed and it is another when you are hired and given a huge responsibility. I was at first flattered but later on after realizing the gravity of the position I accepted, I was challenged and a bit terrified. As a perfectionist, I always want to build a solid reputation in delivering results promptly and efficiently.

My first week started off with a training in our headquarters in Makati. There I was introduced to the people, standard, tools and work culture. They were the secret to A SPACE’s flourishing company. Unlike most companies that give tasks to employees, we were given responsibilities and the freedom to take on projects that were needed to bring out the results that were expected from us. It was a bit of an information overload for some of my colleagues, my geek side was happy with all the new learnings.

Second week came by so fast and this was when I had to put my ideals and countercheck it with reality. Usually, most companies are already established when they hire employees, it was not the case for us. We were a team of three with multiple roles. I was given the responsibility of managing the space and deals something, although I have had some experience as an associate, taking the lead is another ripple to take on. I arrived in the location of what would be our coworking space. It was all cement and dust. I would be one of the first few who would be witnessing the transformation. I had to deal with contractors and partners. My projects included sourcing furnitures and materials, managing finances to leading a team. I had to be tough! I was never close to that. People see me and they always think nothing is wrong with the world. I learned to balance nice with firm to get results.

As 30 days approached, I had to bring out the artisan in me, not literally but in finding ways to get what needs to be done from creating sourcing itineraries to finding better ways to manage finances and people. Despite being a multi-tasker, the projects I had were above and beyond my usual scope and capabilities. I was my own devil’s advocate but the reaffirmation from my workmates made me secure on what I can do. Sometimes, you need a bit of a lift to go farther than usual.

After my first 40 days, I started doubting my abilities as a leader and as a project manager, a lot of things were not going my way and it seemed for a while that I was helpless. Thanks to the mentoring of our Space Lead in Manila and learning by doing, I managed to improve. I learned slowly how to harmonise with my colleagues. Day in and day out, I would spend more than 10 hours to get my projects done. I did not went through each project mindlessly, bringing out the philosopher in me, I thought deeply of each decision and the repercussions on our operation. I have never reached this level of drive until I started to work for A SPACE Cebu.

Since I left the non-profit organisation, I also started to wonder if I did the right decision. Was I selfish to go back to the private sector? I asked myself that couple of times but once we had our soft launch, I was reminded that it was not. Our company is private but we help build communities and empower those starting to breakout into their own industry. Rockstars! That is how we all treat our coworkers (we call them Spacers). Each time I go to the office, I am reminded about those moments when no one believed in me and I am relieved that the coworking space where I work in does its best to motivate people to always push further. It makes a difference once you feel that others think of you as someone destined for greatness and indeed, I can see it in them. I am happy that we are not only giving them a space to work but an outlet for them to be themselves and connect with others.

As we near the completion of our space and I am past my first 90 days, I feel that I have reach a higher level of me compared to the one who started last March. I am not only more confident of my skills as a leader but also happy to be part of a passionate team with a love for giving a high level of customer service and a sense of community. I know I still need to improve, no one ever stops learning after all. My next challenge is making sure all the standards are embedded into our practices and break current standards of quality service. With all that said, the most important lesson I have learned is that anyone is capable of leading. It is in our very core as humans and just like any seed if given the right environment combined with passion, it is very possible to flourish in your own industry.

Why I Write?

I write because I have a lot of things of in my mind.

I write because written words are easy.

I write to free my mind, to connect with people and to find a common ground in this vast space.

I write to free people, to tell that impossible can be done and what is is not what should always be.

I write to have my thoughts travel from my mind to others, hoping that in some way, I am bridging the gap that I am unable to fill during my anti-social moments.

I write to bring people to places they have never been and to think of ideas they have never thought of.

I write because I love words. Words that can change a person’s life. In this cruel world, words of hope are scarce. I want to bring across the small silver linings that go unnoticed and unappreciated.

I write because a lot of people speak daily and only a few are remembered days after.

I write to record my life and those moments that are vital to my existence.

I write just because the act is a form of contributing to what is and what is not.

I write because I think.

I write to challenge my mind and the other people’s mind.

I write because it is easier than speaking.

I write because I am open to judgement.

I write so I can see the journey that my mind has been going through.

I write so that I can remember those thought provoking moments.

I write so I can forget those repetitive mental reminders that disrupt my functioning.

I write because I want to be better at writing.

I write because I want to one day be good enough to publish a book.

I write because words last longer than me.

I write  to not be forgotten.

I write for the love of expression.

I write out of frustration.

I write because I am human enough to crave significance and needy enough to seek connections.

I write because I’m part introvert and sometimes what I think is easier to express through words than to speak out.

I write because it makes me happy.

I write because I can.

I write because I am a lover of words and thoughts.

I write because I am free to do so.

I write to rebel against monotony and predictability.

I write to be heard and to hear.

I write to see and be seen.

I write for the sake of expression and non conformity.

I write to continue the art of writing.

I write to improve my style.

I write to find new and alike minds.

I write to console the hurt.



Monday Musings: Choose Life

Surviving or thriving? Choose life.

Excitement from the new year is still around but how long will it last before you find yourself in the same situation as 2015?

How often do you envy other people for living their dreams?

You and them might have different situations but one thing you and them both have is choice.

Each day you make a choice, from the time you wake up to the jobs you take. Do not blame others for your situations. You are in full control. It is time to take the responsibility. Quit surviving and start thriving. Let your adventures begin. Choose life!

Choose Life from Rando on Vimeo.

Monday Musings: Leaving A Luggage Full of Excuses

How attached are you to your current lifestyle and habits? I have had a lot of moments where I refused to change because of fear of the unknown. If I tell you that I barely talk to people when I was a kid, you would laugh at me in disbelief but it is the truth.

I never wanted to talk to anyone not even to the Jollibee (Philippines’ most loved fast food chain) waitress could make me speak. I would simply ask my sister to speak for me. I just loved staying in my room or with my dogs. I enjoyed seclusion. It took me decades before figuring out that my safety net had been my cage. I needed to grow. I then left my little haven and put myself for the world to either love or criticise. It has been a rewarding bet and I have bloomed so much. There were times when I did not have stuff to protect me and there were times when having no excuses led me to do more. It is part of traveling through life.

We create our own shackles. The luggage full of excuses that we have carried, thinking it will serve as protection when the weather gets tough is only a burden in reality. Learn to let go. Travel light, you will soar faster.

Monday Musing : The Harshest Judge

How do you see yourself? When I started with psychology in university, our professor introduced me to the concept of Johari’s window. The window had four divisions each representing a different perspective of oneself. We had to make our version as a way to raise self-awareness.

Last week, a social experiment became viral. It spoke about how we perceive ourselves and our success.

Admittedly, I they asked me to score myself, I would also be like the participants. I am certain I would give myself a failing mark. This is because we tend to be our worst judge. While others see our success, we usually focus on our failures and we compare ourselves with colleagues and the rest.

Do not focus to much on one viewpoint. Remind yourself that there are 3 more views to be seen. Focus on weakness and work to improve it but do not let it imprison you. You are not bound to them, they are only temporary. Give yourself a break and be your number one advocate.

Monday Musings: Beauty in the Now

We want not only to be loved, we want to think of ourselves as lovely. Rather than see ourselves as we truly are, we see ourselves as we would like to be. Self-deception can be more comforting than self-knowledge. We like to fool ourselves.

-Russ Roberts

Does the quote strike you? Yes? Then sadly you have fallen victim to the pressures of the dumb majority. But hey no worries! You know why? What was in the past and what is yet to come in the future does not matter ( really it does not). No need to deceive yourself by hiding underneath all those cosmetics, undergoing drastic surgeries or cover yourself to please others. There is no need to fake smiles. Trust me when I say, you are beautiful as you are now. Embrace you!

Monday Musings: Fall Seven Times and Stand Up Eight

How many times have you hit rock bottom? Have you ever wondered why?

I am probably one of the few people, who earlier in life already went through a series of unfortunate events. End of 2014, when I fell flat on my face (figuratively speaking, though the falling flat on my face really did happen in a busy intersection of Cebu during my university days), I wanted to give up. I figured, I have already fought many times why just not embrace it. My quest for perfection sometimes lead me to mistakes. It could be from wrong priorities. Giving too much of yourself to others and forgetting to take care of yourself. Human error, no one is ever immune from it unless you are AR2D2 but we forget this simple fact and blame ourselves harshly.

Fall seven, stand up eight (damn Japanese philosophy always haunts me each time I think of laying on the floor in self-pity). But that time, I was on the verge of losing hope. Luckily (thanks to FB), I managed to have a heart-to-heart talk with my good friend from college who was already living in Australia. She told me that I had no reason to, that if I made it through the previous misfortunes, I do not have a valid reason for giving up.

There are no guarantees that I will not fall again tomorrow but each time I do, I learn from my fall and stand taller than before. You should too!

Warrior Wednesdays : Bring Out the Better You

Do You Know Yourself Well? Take the challenge!

How well do you know yourself? In a fast-paced world filled with tons of distractions, it is easy to lose yourself in the madness. Day in and day out we follow through our routines the same way as our parents lived (except for FB, foodporn, selfies and all the social media and internet hoohas). Knowledge has never been convenient, no need to go through the library and browse through the Dewey system to search which books has answers. At the tip of our finger tips and in a matter of seconds, Google provides us with answers on different queries. Bored tonight, I asked Google if it knew me and I was feeling lucky. What response did I get? Well, Google brought me to this youtube video. Just shows that Google cannot answer everything but also a reminder that no one in this world (religious people will disagree because God knows) but apart from those immortal, no one really knows you as much as you know yourself.

Who Am I?
Who Am I?

The lack of knowledge on who we are has brought us into a lot of confusion and we find ourselves lost and losing. We take it out on others. We say “Yes” and do things for the sake of likeability. Man is undeniably a social being but the world has put too much emphasis on fitting a certain frame. We try to fit in this box while filling our souls with resentment.

Good news! I am here to help or I’d like to think I am doing the world a favour by writing this out (I would prefer slapping you in the face but then I don’t like violence at the moment). Warrior Wednesdays will remind you weekly to fight back from being swallowed into a sea of insignificance. Each week, I will write out a challenge that will hopefully make you a better person. You are not alone on the battle, I am doing it with you.

First Challenge: Spend Time on Getting to Know Yourself Better

You cannot be better if you do not know what to change. Take 15-30 minutes each day to think and answer these questions:

  • Do you complain often of “feeling bad,” and if so, what is the cause?
  • Do you find fault with other people at the slightest provocation?
  • Do you frequently make mistakes in your work, and if so, why?
  • Are you sarcastic and offensive in your conversation?
  • Do you deliberately avoid the association of anyone, and if so, why?
  • Do you suffer frequently with indigestion? If so, what is the cause?
  • Does life seem futile and the future hopeless to you? If so, why?
  • Do you like your occupation? If not, why?
  • Do you often feel self-pity, and if so why?
  • Are you envious of those who excel you?
  • To which do you devote most time, thinking of SUCCESS, or of FAILURE?
  • Are you gaining or losing self-confidence as you grow older?
  • Do you learn something of value from all mistakes?
  • Are you permitting some relative or acquaintance to worry you? If so, why?
  • Are you sometimes “in the clouds” and at other times in the depths of despondency?
  • Who has the most inspiring influence upon you? What is the cause?
  • Do you tolerate negative or discouraging influences which you can avoid?
  • Are you careless of your personal appearance? If so, when and why?
  • Have you learned how to “drown your troubles” by being too busy to be annoyed by them?
  • Would you call yourself a “spineless weakling” if you permitted others to do your thinking for you?
  • Do you neglect internal bathing until auto-intoxication makes you ill-tempered and irritable?
  • How many preventable disturbances annoy you, and why do you tolerate them?
  • Do you resort to liquor, narcotics, or cigarettes to “quiet your nerves”? If so, why do you not try will-power instead?
  • Does anyone “nag” you, and if so, for what reason?
  • Do you have a DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE, and if so, what is it, and what plan have you for achieving it?
  • Do you suffer from any of the Six Basic Fears? If so, which ones?
  • Have you a method by which you can shield yourself against the negative influence of others?
  • Do you make deliberate use of auto-suggestion to make your mind positive?
  • Which do you value most, your material possessions, or your privilege of controlling your own thoughts?
  • Are you easily influenced by others, against your own judgment?
  • Has today added anything of value to your stock of knowledge or state of mind?
  • Do you face squarely the circumstances which make you unhappy, or sidestep the responsibility?
  • Do you analyze all mistakes and failures and try to profit by them or, do you take the attitude that this is not your duty?
  • Can you name three of your most damaging weaknesses?
  • What are you doing to correct them?
  • Do you encourage other people to bring their worries to you for sympathy?
  • Do you choose, from your daily experiences, lessons or influences which aid in your personal advancement?
  • Does your presence have a negative influence on other people as a rule?
  • What habits of other people annoy you most?
  • Do you form your own opinions or permit yourself to be influenced by other people?
  • Have you learned how to create a mental state of mind with which you can shield yourself against all discouraging influences?
  • Does your occupation inspire you with faith and hope?
  • Are you conscious of possessing spiritual forces of sufficient power to enable you to keep your mind free from all forms of FEAR?
  • Does your religion help you to keep your own mind positive?
  • Do you feel it your duty to share other people’s worries? If so, why?
  • If you believe that “birds of a feather flock together” what have you learned about yourself by studying the friends whom you attract?
  • What connection, if any, do you see between the people with whom you associate most closely, and any unhappiness you may experience?
  • Could it be possible that some person whom you consider to be a friend is, in reality, your worst enemy, because of his negative influence on your mind?
  • By what rules do you judge who is helpful and who is damaging to you?
  • Are your intimate associates mentally superior or inferior to you?
  • How much time out of every 24 hours do you devote to:

a. your occupation
b. sleep
c. play and relaxation
d. acquiring useful knowledge
e. plain waste
Who among your acquaintances,
a. encourages you most
b. cautions you most
c. discourages you most
d. helps you most in other ways

  • What is your greatest worry? Why do you tolerate it?
  • When others offer you free, unsolicited advice, do you accept it without question, or analyze their motive?
  • What, above all else, do you most DESIRE?
  • Do you intend to acquire it?
  • Are you willing to subordinate all other desires for this one?
  • How much time daily do you devote to acquiring it?
  • Do you change your mind often? If so, why?
  • Do you usually finish everything you begin?
  • Are you easily impressed by other people’s business or professional titles, college degrees, or wealth?
  • Are you easily influenced by what other people think or say of you?
  • Do you cater to people because of their social or financial status?
  • Whom do you believe to be the greatest person living?
  • In what respect is this person superior to yourself?
  • How much time have you devoted to studying and answering these questions? (At least one day is necessary for the analysis and the answering of the entire list.)

It takes a lot of effort but if you take time to answer truthfully (do not dare lie to yourself) then you will know more about yourself than majority of Earth. If you seem uncertain on some questions then ask people who know you well (real friends who will not flatter you, who sees you as who you are. This little challenge will help you start an amazing change within yourself. Awareness of one’s mind is the first step to taking control over things.

Feel free to share your answers and thoughts on this challenge. I will post some of my answers next Wednesday along with the second challenge!

Losing Love: Part 2

Years passed and her world grew bigger. A new life in a new city, another shot at reinvention. “I am someone else!”, mantra she kept in her mind as she started college. Once again, she found herself drawn into the beauty and rawness of the wilderness.

Finding yourself in the middle of nowhere.

She filled herself with fresh expectations but once again her quest brought new wounds. Wounds far more complex and deadly than the ones before. Daytime, she smiled and laugh like sun at noontime but when night came, she slithered into her cave of  self-destruction. A fish out of water desperately seeking the ocean, living off through small air bubbles. Desperation haunted her and self-pity seeped into her blood. She morphed into a reticent swimmer against the ebb and flow. Her mind filled with a farrago of doubts, fears, hopes, and wishes.  They all thought she suffered from the hectic duties and lectures but it was her ray of hope.

Routines made her feel safe. Just as a passenger desperately seeking for saving from a sinking ship, she clung to people who gave her promises of security. She would later find out that they were nothing more than a mere mirages. A bunch of conspirators scheming her demise. One day as she traipsed on, she stumbled into a river and for the first time, she descried her reflection in perfect clarity. She shuddered at the sight, realising that she was her own saviour. All these time she thought she had no choice, nothing more but a victim hanging on to the claws of cruel fate.

Energised with the new insight, she sought to change her reality. She gave up the prescribed life she had before her. The momentum brought her courage and a renewed focus in life. Packed all her stuff and moved to the metropolis, her goal to make her dream a reality. It was more than a decade ago when she dreamt of a restaurant that would serve nothing but fresh and healthy food produced from her own farm. Employing people and empowering them by providing education to their families. For many years, she hated the thought of business, thinking that money was merely the devil’s creation to enslave men. She now saw things in a new light after meeting a stranger. He woke her up from monotony and talked her out of her cowardness.

Creating yourself.

What was once lost is now regained. She found direction and let go of other’s life mould. All her life, patterned after what others saw. She finally mustered enough courage to live life the way she always wanted, swore to herself never be oppressed into living a life she is not happy with. She finally embraced her own legend and reached for the stars. She stood infront of the road that she created, knowing that it will not be an easy journey. Gone are her days of emptiness.