Monday Musings : Accidental Shifts

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.

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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!

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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.

 

 

3 Goals for Happinas

I have fallen once again into the pit of procrastination. I am now committing to achieve these three goals for the next three months.

  • Publish three times a week during the next two months.
  • Spend two hours each week visiting my followers’ blogs, reading, and commenting from now until the end of July.
  • Gain 20% more followers within three months.

When starting a new habit, it is such a struggle. Now I have to acquaint myself with the habit of publishing in my blog. How about you? What are your goals for your blog?

Monday Musings: Light and Darkness

Overwhelming information, useless noise and complicated lives, this is what we face daily. Bombarded by social media that creates a false reality and sense of connectivity. We are more at a disconnect that we ever were before. More than ever, we feel strongly that the world is all black or all white, that there are no grey areas. Nature, however, reminds us that this is not true. If we go back to the basic, we will realize that everything is connected.

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As much as we want to escape one side, we should not completely close off from it. Imagine if we live in a world that has no darkness, will you be able to appreciate the beauty of the constellation? If there were no defeat, how can you truly savor triumph?

The movie “Inside Out” also reminded us of this last year. What is joy without sadness? This is life and understanding the significance of duality reminds us that we are part of a bigger picture. The world is not just about us. We are part of an intricate phenomena, essentially one with the universe.

In all of these examples, I think, we should start making the light out of darkness, and use the darkness as a canvas — like the visual artists do, like Edward Hopper in this painting. I think that there is a lot of suspense in this painting. I think, when I see it, I start to think, who are those people? Where have they come from? Where are they going? What just happened? What will be happening in the next five minutes? And it only embodies all these stories and all this suspense because of the darkness and the light.

Rogier van der Heide

Watch the full Ted talk to understand the idea in a visual manner.

 

 

Monday Musing: Fighting Thoughts of Uncertainty.

Today is World Poetry Day! Back in the days, I would spend time writing on my diary and trying to be a poet. I love words and enjoy sulking in their meaning. To celebrate this day, I went through my old blog site to search for past entries. I used to write a lot of free verse on my frustrations in life. To be honest, most of it made people depressed so I decided to shift.

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Here is a free verse I wrote on August 4, 2012:

Standing in front of two eternities, sadness and happiness accompany me.

Trying to hold on to the dusts of yesterday, losing grip of what used to be.

Confused with the now as future is pounding at my door.

A bleak promise of tomorrow awaiting outside.

Fears and worries prevent me from moving further, for thoughts of you still linger. Time why do you change things?

Weak and weary but I will trudge on.

Now is my only possession, for the past is dead and tomorrow is unborn.

I sometimes I end up worrying too much about things that it temporarily freezes up my life. As humans the idea of not knowing everything always bothered us. The fear of not being totally in control of our life is an ongoing disease. Sometimes I resort to emotional eating or running. Oftentimes, I run away from uncertainty. After accepting the fact that the unknown will never stop bothering me , I confronted it and welcomed reality.

Having peace within one’s self is never easy. As social beings, we tend to use others or things to solve problems. It takes a lot of strength to fight our own demons and as you might all know, there is nothing more debilitating than self-doubt.

Fear is one of man’s formidable enemies. We do a lot of things that tend to be destructive to ourselves, to others and to relationships. You should not let a shadow consume your entire life. Decide to be positive and pro-active. I chose to do the same. We are all given the opportunity and time to make the best out of our lives.

The most freeing thing you can do for yourself is to hold on to your own abilitie. Believe in your capabilities and know that things happen for the better if you will it.

Do you have these moments too? How do you get over them?

Monday Musings: A Duty To Protect Beauty

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Earth’s beauty is undeniable yet a lot of people are too distracted to see how we are slowly killing it. I never understood people who would rather be on their phones instead of taking a few minutes to see the sun graciously setting over the horizon. I guess with all the mobile stuff, the rest forget the simple things that surround us. It is either they see cash or likable over social media.
Everyday while I walk along the streets of the busy metropolis, I see people mistreating nature by throwing trash improperly or treating animals poorly. These are the same people you follow in social media. With each like you give, you are giving birth to a fake persona created for the sake of likability. They put up photos of the beach, forests and mountains to win people over but only a few dedicate time to give back. They show little gratitude to their homes. Are you one of those who appreciates our planet?
It is a known fact that humans are not the first organisms in the planet. We are young dwellers compared to sharks but we have done so much damage. I guess it happens when we are given a lot, you fail to appreciate but now time is running out. We have misused our mother Earth too much. If you are like me, then you must realise that we have a duty. Like a mother reminds her children and teaches them lessons, we should do the same to our fellow earth dwellers. Our resources are limited and if we do not protect it vigilantly, we are putting an end to our own existence.

Monday Musings: The Lie We Live

Sadly, the world today is more concerned on quantity than quality. We are growing greedier by the minute. The more technology advances, the more we fool ourselves that we have become more intelligent. We are living on a lie. It is time to wake up and see what life really is about. It is not about what you wear and how much you own, it is about what you can give without these things and who you have when you have nothing.

Say Hello to Bright Spots

First off, forgive me with my inconsistent posting as I have been lazy the past weeks. I am trying to win over the procrastinator/perfectionist in me at the moment. Nonetheless, I am excited to be adding another regular weekly post called Bright Spot.

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What is a Bright Spot?

a bright spot is a pleasant or successful event or period of time when most other things are unpleasant or not successful (often + in )

How did I end up thinking about Bright Spots?

A year ago, while planning my blog’s editorial calendar, I though of scheduling Sunday to be the day when I post about inspiring people and communities that I have met during my travels but I started writing one. Nowadays, I often see Bright Side and Upworthy in my Facebook feeds daily but what really prompted me to start this were my workmates at Rare were quite influential. I have been told that our organization’s bible is Switch : How To Change Things When Change is Hard, a book written by Chip and Dan Heath that narrates how ordinary people achieve dramatic results. In that book they relentlessly talk about focusing on bright spots and so I decided to highlight the good stuff that is happening despite the negativity going around social media sites about people and the Philippines through my blog. I know I do not have a massive reach yet but hopefully it will reach enough to at least inspire one person.

What to Expect?

Every Saturday, you will be getting new real life stories of people and communities from the Philippines and some abroad that rarely makes it out in the general public but is changing the world in a positive way. Small triumphs that is good for the heart and soul which are noteworthy.

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Happy Trails,

Paula

5 Must-Have Mobile Apps for Travelers

Here you are ready to go on a long travel, maps all rolled up, your travel books piled up in your backpack but wait, these are no longer considered efficient in 2016 although they might be useful in situations where you do not have electricity readily available but this rarely happen.

So unless you are travelling without any mobile gadgets, you should arm yourself with whatever technology can offer for convenience and easy travel.

As a regular weekend wanderer, I never leave my home without these apps.

1. Evernote

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As a constant web surfer who easily gets distracted and barely remembers thing, this app is a lifesaver. If you are like me who sometimes have goldfish memory, you should have this. Not only is this useful for keeping thoughts, photos, business cards and reminders, Evernote can easily save webpages with one mouse click.

Before I travel to a place, I usually Google it and find relevant articles. Here’s one of my notebook about Southeast Asia. Once I find it, I save them to a notebook in my Evernote and make them available offline that way, you can easily recall tips and prices even without internet.

Another added feature is that you can do work chat and share notebooks with people, planning trips with friends has never been this easy. You can download it here.

2. Maps.me

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While I know most people use Google maps, I found this application more updated. It saved me during several trips in lesser known areas like in Siquijor. You can download maps for different countries and you can bookmark locations for reference. They constantly update maps so make sure to update otherwise you will not be able to use it.

Download here.

3. Monefy

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If you do not care much about sticking to budgets then you wouldn’t need this but for people like me who are money conscious, this does the job. It is simple to update and you can set it on a budget so you know how much money you can still spend. I find it so useful that I paid for the pro version!

Download here for the free app.

4. Rome2Rio

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I find it troublesome to check routes and then go to company websites to check rates for fare and accomodation when creating a budget. Thanks to Rome2Rio, I save time. Think google maps but with expense estimations for transportation. I find this useful when I do not know how to reach a destination and how much I should spend on transportation.

Download here for an IOS version.

5. GPSmyCity

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If you are into offbeat travels like me then GPSmyCity is the app for you. They over 5,000 self-guided walks in 470+ cities around the world. Awesome right? Each one of their apps contains from a few to over a dozen of self-guided walking tours for a single city, allowing visitors to explore on foot the best of the city at their own pace without the touristy cost.

Itching to download this? I have good news! GPSmyCity is offering 20 promo codes of one of their full-version city walk apps to happinas readers. Each such code allows a free download of the app, which normally costs US$4.99 at the App Store.

Here is what you have to do:

  1. Leave a comment in this article on why travel makes you happy.
  2. Submit a photo of your favorite city attraction or delicacy in the Philippines  pau.bernasor@gmail.com.

First 20 submissions will receive the download codes.