"I shall be willing to give my complete self for the choices I consciously make in order to optimize the value of my continuously evolving self-awareness and self-discovery."
Management has become an illusion to many people for many years. We thought that given a position, we will be able to drive people to achieve results. We were made to believe that as you pay people, we may be able to squeeze their juices to contribute to our results. But come to think of it: even a child who came from a parent and who was nurtured by the parent through the formative years won't do everything the parent wants him to do. They will still go out of their way and do things the way they want their own way. How much less can we expect an employee to subscribe to our management only because he is paid to do so?
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Knowing self is the prerequisite to self management. It is about self knowledge which leads to self mastery. The Book of Tao Te Ching is sure in saying that "He who knows others is CLEVER; He who knows himself HAS DISCERNMENT; He who overcomes others HAS FORCE; He who overcomes himself is STRONG." Knowing self requires discernment leading to being strong. Knowledge and mastery of the self sounds more challenging than knowledge and mastery of others.
You don't have to be different. You just have to be yourself. But by being yourself, you express your uniqueness. You can only be the best of what you are. You can never be the best of what you are not. The power lies within. If you wish to conquer the world, you have to first conquer yourself.
But what do we need to know about ourselves? We have a false belief that we know ourselves enough because it is the person we have known since our conception. But wait! Psychologically, there are many things we do not know about the person we see in the mirror. Here is how. Our ego is that part of our personality that is in contact with reality. Ego is the neutralizer of the moralistic superego and the pleasure-driven id. The superego and the id are both blind and not based on reality. There are times however that our ego is threatened. That is when defense mechanisms are accessed to protect the ego and to attempt a state of balance. Defense mechanisms operate in the unconscious. For example, an alcoholic will use denial and say "I am just an occasional drinker," and he is convinced about it. He will use rationalization and say "drinking is my only stress buster because I don't have friends," and he is convinced about it. He will use dissociation and say, "my quarrel and separation with my wife has nothing to do with my drinking but with her nagging personality," and he is convinced about it. The alcoholic's use of the three defense mechanisms is something that he is not aware of. He gets used to it to protect his ego from the very real possibility that he is actually suffering from alcoholism. The unconscious use of the defense mechanism is anchored on the fact that it is the ego (a connection to reality) that it is trying to protect. (ego-id-superego model)
This is one psychological basis for our tendency to suppress from our consciousness many aspects of lives and characteristics about ourselves which in a way is a form of self-delusion. Even the JOHARI Window, formulated by John Luft and Harry Ingham (?), proposed that there is the blind quadrant, which is known to others but is not known to self. There is also the unknown (unconscious) quadrant, which is neither known to others nor to self. That is how much unknown remains for us to explore. These quadrants offer the potentials in the human person. (illustration of johari)
The Gift of Self
On the more practical level, it is most worthwhile to discover what we do best that we enjoy most. XXX calls it flow. I simply call it gift.
Do we do it best because we enjoy it most? Or do we enjoy it most because we do it best? A chicken and egg situation. It doesn't matter which one leads to another. But certainly, we won't do best what we don't enjoy doing, neither would we enjoy doing something we don't do best.
There must be a special reason why the Supreme Being gives a special gift to each of us. It is for us to discover it, nurture it to perfection, and find its value to how you can serve others. But how many people end life journey without such discovery? What a waste! Even what is initially perceived as weakness can actually be discovered as a gift. XXX is a person born with a condition called xxx. He has no arms and feet. But he found the gift. He would inspire people by how he was able to do what people with complete extremities can do - like surfing, playing golf, and play musical instrument. He would have not done it any better if he was born with limbs. And there are many other stories available in the worldwide web for us to prove that what could be initially perceived as weakness can lead to the realization of strength.
What you love and your talents provide for clues to your gift. As Wolfgang puts it: the person born with a talent they are meant to use will find the greatest happiness in using it. You want to know your gift? Look at the mirror and ask yourself. What makes you different? What makes you special? What makes you loved and loveable? What makes you a "child of God?" I am sure, you will find an attribute, a power, a great being within you. It awaits to be unleashed, NOW.
What is the best business for me?
Whenever I get consulted by people who are in search of a business venture, I ask them the question, "what is it that you do best that you enjoy most?" The rationale is simple: what you do best is worthwhile investing in, especially when it fills a particular need in the market. What you do best will bring a product or a service that is probably best or good enough as a starting point to generate profit. What you do best is much easier to nurture and craft to perfection. It is important that I ask the question about what they enjoy most. The rationale is also simple: work stops being work when you are enjoying it. It makes you focus on what matters most because what you do brings about some degree of self fulfillment just by simply doing it. When what you do is something you enjoy most, you become more resilient, especially in the field of entrepreneurship where only the toughest survive.
My life is an example. I was given the gift of tongue. God must have a reason. And everything followed after.
Now, what is your gift? What have you done to nurture that gift?
Step 2: CHOOSE Self
After you know or discover the gift, you have to choose to use it well. You may choose to nurture it. Choice is derived from the freewill which is innate to our human nature. Some people will respond to situation based on the force of circumstances and will claim that there is no other choice. In my trainings, I usually set a bet for the audience to give me an example of a life situation where the person has no choice. On doctor challenged me and cited that he never chose to be born. Good thing he is a doctor that I was able to ask him how many spermatozoa does a man release in a sexual act. He said tens of millions. It was my chance to remind him: "Doc, when your father made love with your mother, there were tens of millions of sperm released by your father! Why did you rush to win the race?" It made the hall full of doctors quiet. And I closed the debate by saying: "Doc, while you were a sperm, you made a choice to be the fastest and the mightiest sperm of them all. That's because you chose to fertilize the egg."
I have yet to hear a situation in life where one has no choice! The challenge of throwing bread on those who throw stones is Jesus Christ's lesson of CHOICE. Reactive people respond as if there is nothing between stimulus and response. Proactive people respond aware that there is something between the stimulus and response- that is CHOICE. Stephen Covey calls being proactive as being "response-able." They have the "response-ability," which is the ability to choose the response.
A person who believes in choices and who empowers the self using that freedom to choose will not blame others for anything. They only have themselves to blame. In so doing, that person learns, grow, become a better person.
Now that I have impressed upon you that choice is inherent to our human nature, the biggest choice you have to make is to CHOOSE your SELF. You may choose to be the best person you can be based on your personal knowledge of yourself. Having been blessed with the gift of teaching, you may choose to be a great teacher. A nurse may just provide relief of pain, but may choose to care by provide a holistic nurturing to her clients. Anyone can be great. It is just a matter of choice. Famous and notorious people alike are products of the choices they make.
Step 3: GIVE Self
What did you have when you were born? And what dies with you? Only your SELF. What you gained in your life journey like wealth, properties, power and prestige are temporal rewards for the actions you took and the choice you made. But what could be the greatest gift to humanity but self? I used to wonder why most heroes had to die before they get acknowledged, like saints who had to die before they get beatified. Because death is the ultimate offering of the self. Even Jesus had to die to achieve our salvation. But this book is not about being hero or saint. It is about being you and giving yourself.
What you are is God's gift to you. What others have become because of you is your gift to God. It is in giving yourself that you find greater meaning in the life you are blessed to live.
What do we get in knowing-choosing-giving ourselves? The more we become knowledgeable about ourselves, the more we will be able to define our vision and purpose. And from such vision and life purpose, we will be able to better choose the person we want to be. In so doing, we are able to fulfil a mission and project our authentic presence in the environment we live in. Our existence is felt, our significance is appreciated and our worth enriched. We are then able to give ourselves more genuinely. It is in sharing ourselves that we become more. It is in giving ourselves that we are given more. It creates a self-actualizing existence that puts more value to our lives and our being. Self actualization is the highest level of need. It is what not everyone will be able to reach in a lifetime. It is anchored on a hierarchy that builds upon basic to more complex needs. It is the level that makes one conclude that life is indeed worth leaving.
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Interview 1: Cory Quirino
It took years for Cory Quirino to spread the gospel of wellness among her fellow Filipinos. Now, thanks to her relentless advocacy, wellness is one of the most happening words in town as more and more manufacturers have been jumping onto the bandwagon, developing consumer products that promote a healthy and happy lifestyle. Alternative and preventive medicine and naturopathy have likewise been booming.
One of Quirino's secrets to her accomplishments is the great sense of discipline that drives her dreams. "Without it, passion has no direction," she says. Wellness itself has a lot to do with balancing one's life. A lot of self-discipline goes to the day-to-day management of physical, emotional and spiritual activities that maintain one's health and beauty. The same principles can be applied in managing one's enterprises, as she has successfully demonstrated.
It takes both intelligence and keeping one's cool to win the game. "EQ is on equal footing with IQ," she says, "if not a step higher." She adds, "I believe in it as something innately God-given, something that enables an individual to tap the inner intelligence, centered on his or her ability to sense, to reflect, and to act."
Quirino can attest to the fulfilment of being an entrepreneur. "Only now, I am beginning to know what this feels like," she says. "Sure, it's risky, but the rewards are great. Your sense of freedom is underscored and heightened, and this motivates you to go further, beyond your own self-imposed limitations." Many people consider Quirino a guru or icon. "This is music to my ears," she smiles, "because it simply means, 'you have arrived, Cory!'"
Interview 2: Richie Cuna
Richie Cuna always makes sure that his business is a step ahead of everyone else's. Being a business developer, he has been strict at beating his deadlines. "I always tell my staff that we need to hit deadlines yesterday. No exemptions!" , he exclaims.
It has taken discipline and planning to turn Cuna's visions to reality. People who are always stuck on the planning phase turn him off. "I would plan things in my head days, weeks, months, or maybe even years ahead, and then I share what I want to happen," he says. In his office, he is well known for making his word happen. When he established the brand Fiorgelato, one of his several successful franchises, he planned to establish 50 branches within ten years. And so he has.
Cuna has been a leader and pioneer in entrepreneurship and franchising in the Philippines. He founded and led the Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc (AFFI). He keenly supports new businesses, brands and concepts in schools, exhibits and other activities and has helped make Filipino brands internationally competitive. He wants others to share in the satisfaction of being entrepreneurs.
He relates, "I've been an employee for about 25 years, and sometimes they say when an employee leaves the office, that's the end of the story...As an entrepreneur, the task is a 24/7 thing; your mind keeps on running because you need to finish a task or make a deadline...But the fulfilment is different. I quit my job in banking and pursued entrepreneurship because it is more enjoyable!"
Nuggets of Wisdom
Here are some simplified techniques on how you can make the full use of your self:
Search for what you do best and enjoy most.
Examine the realization of dreams and aspirations.
Live in harmony with the universe.
Fulfil the promise of the future through the lessons of the past and blessings of the present.
Search for what you do best and enjoy most. This is the essence of your freewill. You may choose what to do and might as well do what you are best at and what gives you the greatest rewards of enjoyment. In the process, everything becomes easy in your full utilization of your greatest asset - yourself.
Examine the realization of dreams and aspirations. Success comes in small frequent feedings. There are small achievements that are indicators that you are getting there in time. Do an inventory of the small successes that is heading to the realization of your dreams. These are the building blocks of your immortal legacy.
Live in harmony with the universe. You are part of a bigger whole. Live with it in harmony. Be nurtured by it as you contribute to its entirety. Harmonize with nature and be one of its treasures.
Fulfil the promise of the future through the lessons of the past and blessings of the present. You are never a perfect being but you are learning. The past provides you lessons. The past cannot teach you, but you can learn from it. The present is a presentâ€¦ a gift. It is the most important day in your history. Count your blessings on a daily basis. Conquer the future. It promises you great things.
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