I sound like a broken record when I say the word “resolution,” but I still believe in making them. I mean, what could be better than purposely setting aside the first few days of the year to actually plan for some changes, right? But most of us (myself included) give up because we have told ourselves “I’m going to get distracted” or “I’m not going to lose that much weight, so why try?” or “Resolutions are stupid, nothing ever changes.”
The key to making resolutions that actually pull through? CHOOSING. If you choose to succeed in what you set out for yourself to do, then you have already chosen to be that person, you have already chosen to be in that place or situation that you desire in your heart.
Let me explain what I mean, inspired by my “quote addiction” (!):
In my first year offering my blog coaching sessions (as a “side hustle” to my regular job as a digital strategist), I remember deciding to simply “make it my full-time hustle.” I knew I wanted to create a job that I enjoyed doing, doing something that was both fulfilling and fun for me. So even if in the beginning I had to juggle the side hustle and work double the time, it was because I had decided I wanted to make this job sustainable enough for me to replace the income I was making in the company I was employed in. Eventually the hustling paid off after a year or so, when I was able to resign from employment and do my blog coaching and blog sponsorships on a full-time basis. It wasn’t without the long hours, the time and effort invested in courses and trainings to help me in the areas of branding, consulting and coaching. But that’s because I had already decided where I wanted to be. All the hours put into making the side hustle work, in the end, paid off. (And here I am still, going on five years!)
Without commitment, all we have are wishes and dreams, no plans. I saw this on one of those Facebook quotes some time ago and it stuck. We can say “I’m going to do this, one day,” but if we never commit to actually doing what it takes to see the dream come true, then we will never be more than just dreamers. (And dreamers are, well, asleep.)
I was watching a viral video on Facebook about Martin Strel, a 60-something year old who holds the Guinness World Record in long distance swimming in open water. This man is a total animal who has some kind of surreal, innate power in him, I believe! He has defied all limits when it comes to swimming in open water (yes, including the most polluted bodies of water on earth). Just watch:
“Water usually kills people. Not me,” Martin says, after sustaining sickness, life-threatening diseases and all sorts of bodily challenges during his torturous swims. (He has at times swum for sixty days straight!) What struck a chord with me most was when he talked about the water being his strength, particularly when he’d escape his abusive father by swimming off. (That, and getting attacked by flesh-eating fish while on a swim!) The biggest deal? It’s that each river or sea he committed to swim across or through, he’s done it.There’s a reason he’s been able to withstand the most awful conditions and limiting beliefs.
“It’s in your brain,” Martin says simply. “I am still a simple man, and I can change the world.”
Commitment to being what you want to be is what takes you one step closer each day to your goal. Like Martin! He would like to swim the Grand Canyon one day, maybe even swim across the planet. I’m sure he’ll be able to do one or both, because heck, this guy is all about dreaming and doing what it takes to meet his goal. We can have all the pretty dreams in our heads, but wouldn’t it be a whole other level to LIVE them?
I’m not yet where I want to be, even though I am doing work that I enjoy, or I have “made my passion my paycheck.” To be honest, my passion isn’t something I want a paycheck for: I want to be a full-time mom. Sounds big coming from a known work-at-home mom like me, a promoter of women empowerment, right? I know I’ve often written about and talked about making things work, and they can, but I’ve dared myself to dream bigger and plan better so that I can design my life a better way. I’ve been a mother for seven years now, and to be honest, I don’t want to be a working mom my whole life. I’d like to do other things, too, and find solutions to how I can activate income streams, without trading hours for time. That’s what 2017 will be about, and I have decided to work on priming my new passive income streams. I know it is hard in the beginning, but like one of my favorite people says, “Work hard now so that you can reap the benefits later” (Pat Flynn). I’ve decided I will succeed in setting up successful passive income streams. I’ve seen what life can be when that goal is reached, and it is too good to pass up the opportunity to really design my life the way I want to, the way my family deserves.
Bottom line? Everything that will go through when we run for our goals — the hard work, the perseverance, the mistakes and failures, the progress — are chapters in our success stories. I don’t consider my becoming a full-time housewife, or an established blogger, or a small business owner a “success.” As another famous man said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” (Winston Churchill).
I hope this new year, you will CHOOSE for yourself what you would like your life to be like. That you would shift your mindset to one that says “I can and I will,” because once you have chosen, you have already decided to succeed.
Make Your 2017 Happen with Your Own Vision Board!
I say that one of the best ways to help you CHOOSE and live intentionally this year is to join our Vision Board Workshop on the 21st. I have teamed up with Vision Board Coach Trixie Barretto Esguerra for this event, who has conducted successful Vision Board coaching all over the Philippines, parts of Asia and the United States.
Doing a Wish Grant with Make a Wish Philippines is something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I understood the positive effect it has on the children. So before the holidays set in, a few of us from the Blissful Brands & Businesses Group started a simple chat thread on Facebook and started to plan a wish grant for two preschool aged kids — Ezra and Krystel, both with life-threatening illnesses — who wanted to have their wishes granted.
The “wish grant” by the Make a Wish Foundation is an experience that brings hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening illnesses. According to their website, 89 percent of health care experts around the world believe that the wish granting experience can influence a “wish kid’s” health in a most positive way. Eighty-one percent of parents of wish kids also observed that after wish grants, their children were more willing to comply with their treatment protocols. Most of all, 99 percent of parents affirmed that the wish grants give their children increased feelings of happiness, which has often resulted in a turning point for the children during treatments (i.e., some get well or start on the road to wellness).
Who wouldn’t want to give these children all that?
Each wishgrant is more about creating an magicalexperience for each child, giving them a day that they will remember forever. As sponsors, we were encouraged by the Make a Wish team to think out of the box to make magic happen for Ezra and Krystel.
First in order was the venue. Earth Kitchen in Bonifacio Global City let us use their venue without needing to meet the regular rate for events (Thanks, Melissa, Pinky and the EK team!). To create a “magical” effect in the venue, we had the gracious support of White Box PH, a company that specializes in ready-made party paraphernalia that are hard-to-find or make. For this party, the ladies of White Box went with the colors of Make a Wish (white and blue) and created a “winter wonderland.”
With the White Box PH ladies, and our wish kids
Once the venue design was in place, we sounded a call for volunteers who would want to give through talent, so that the wish kids and the party goers would be able to enjoy some entertainment. For this, we were blessed to have volunteers from among the Blissful Brands & Businesses members. The first performance was by our youngest volunteer, Yanthy Dumadag, the son of my friend Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag of the Hands-On Parenting While Earning workshops and consultancy. Yanthy is a talented keyboardist who is also a homeschooler, and has been playing the piano during daily Mass, so for this wish grant, his offering was a number of Christmas songs. So impressive!
The next set of volunteer entertainers was Make Believe Philippines, a company dear to my heart that specializes in creating magical storytelling experiences and events for children (owned by my cousin-in-law, Lesley Leveriza). The first Make Believe experience I ever had was when they came to do a Very Hungry Caterpillar-themed birthday craft party for my son Vito’s 2nd birthday, and I remember everyone loving it so much! So for the wish grant, Make Believe prepared a moving story about Juanito, who learned how to make the world a more colorful and happy place. Both the adults and the kids in attendance were super psyched and involved during the performance, which is really a trademark of the Make Believe team’s interactive stories.
The Make Believe Team also brought with them their trademark face painting station, so that the kids could have some colorful fun. Our wish kid Ezra had them paint his favorite superhero emblems on his arm, to his delight. Meanwhile little 3 year-old Krystel wanted lots of flowers.
Last but not the least, the talented indie artists of World Extravaganza, led by Ms. Crystal Lin, rendered some acoustic tunes for us, including an original song. “World Extravaganza is a community arts organization dedicated to organize events and design programs with the mission to promote, advocate, and communicate music and the arts to the general public.”I suddenly remembered my days in youth group band, while listening to these guys and girls. I can’t explain how much music has an invisible power to touch the heart, especially when the musicians making it truly love their craft, as these young men and women do. (You’ll find them on weekdays at Frank & Dean’s at Burgos Circle during Open Mic sessions — check out their Facebook page for schedules!)
We transitioned from the last song by WorldExPH into the actual Wish Grant portion, which Ezra and Krystel were not expecting. As it is done during wish grants, the wish kids were led to sit in front of the party crowd, facing the people with their eyes blindfolded. Everyone scurried to get the gifts in place while I gave some instructions on what was to happen.
Once the gifts were in place, we counted down before the kids were instructed to take off their masks and see all the presents before them. They were in shock at the pile! The Make a Wish team had gone to great lengths to make sure our donations from the Blissful Brands & Businesses group would go into getting Ezra and Krystel the toys on their wish list. For Ezra, a “big remote control car,” and for Krystel a Barbie and Barbie house. They ended up getting all that they wished for, and more!
Both Ezra and Krystel suffer from blood thalassemia, a blood disorder caused by the body’s lack of hemoglobin, which is a crucial component of our red blood cells. It’s a treatable disorder, which means that both wish kids will be undergoing blood transfusions and chelation therapy for the rest of their lives. While it’s hard to imagine these two beautiful kids have such a condition to live with, it’s possible to keep helping them on a regular basis. You can contact Make a Wish Philippines on how to donate and how to organize a wish grant for other wish kids. Trust us, it’s totally worth it.
We hope you enjoyed this recap of the Ezra – Krystel Wish Grant! You can view all the pictures from the event over at our photography sponsor Amari Moments’ Facebook Page.
Have you ever had to “fire” yourself from a job? I’m talking about it in the context of a blogger, a freelancer or creative. This is an idea I learned from my brothers, when they were deep into their digital strategy business. They were behind big brands like Fully Booked, Jericho Rosales, DMCI Homes, and such companies. Their goal after their corporate trainings and consultancies was simple: For their clients to become so competent so that they could fire their consultants (the consultants being my brothers). When I asked what he meant, he said:
“As a consultant, your job is bring ‘smarts’ to the situation. When you do that, you should be increasing your clients’ capabilities so that as you work together, it’s a learning process for them. Within a certain amount of time, they should should be able to fly without you,” says my youngest brother, Kayo Cosio of HoneyComb Communities.
Ever since they stated this years ago during a training workshop, I’ve thought about it in the context of my own work, and being “fired” on certain occasions, plus to how “fire myself” from situations. Let me explain.
See, I’ve been blog coaching for four years now. In the beginning, when I was handling a few clients at a time, it was great. I could do everything on my own, except for the graphic design elements of the websites and blogs of my clients. Down the road, more and more clients came, and I had to hire more people to make the websites and to do the work with me.
Growing a team is never easy, and I even hired some really bad people along the way. There were a handful of projects that never saw the light because of some unreliable freelancers I contracted. Of course, I learned it the hard way: All the blame went to me, as the project manager. As a result, I fumbled up projects, made clients unhappy, wasted people’s money and time, and of course, all that ruined my reputation. I had lots of great projects, but the disappointments and failures always affected me the most.
What my failures in consulting have taught me
I’ve seen through the years that I should have fired myself when I saw warning signs — like those I’m listing below. Looking back, my unhappy clients have been the ones whom I didn’t give value to. There were those who felt I wasted their money, others who didn’t jive with my style of coaching, and others who didn’t like their websites and blogs. These clients, I’ve since grouped into “the dissatisfied” for data purposes. Normally, I would let these glaring failures keep me down, but as it turns out they are the most helpful category of clients for me. Because it’s my failures with them that help me create something blissful out of a seemingly negative and career-killing situation.
What I’ve realized is:
1. There are clients who need more hand-holding than others. I’ve had clients who are more demanding of my time and supervision than others. If I’m not delivering their time expectations, I will of course fail them because they find value in constant access to me. I should fire myself before things get too detailed.
2. There will always be people who equate service price with hours rendered. I’ve had a handful of prospects who’ve said “Your Skype sessions are overpriced” without even trying them first. But I’ve had MORE clients say that my Skype sessions were vastly helpful, even more than my offline group workshops, because of the one-on-one aspect. When colleagues and I deduced what the unhappy clients found wrong with the service, we saw that these clients didn’t really care about the price, but they made price instead of time & consulting the most important aspect of their choice to work with me. I should fire myself, because I am not valued, nor is my service.
3. There will be clients you think are great for you, but they don’t really need you. It’s important to validate a particular client actually needs you. This was one mistake I made more than once. My coaching is most valuable to clients who really don’t know what they want for their blog or website. So in the times I was hired by clients who already knew a majority of what they wanted, I should have actually let them go. Why? Because if I cannot work with them or offer them value, then they will of course feel they didn’t get their money’s worth.
So, thank you, to every client I’ve had. The successful projects have affirmed that I am a great blog coach for a specific kind of client. The failed projects on my part confirmed what I was doing incorrectly, and have since helped me to “fire myself” as a blog coach.
But this doesn’t end in failure. I’m too much of a life hacker to settle in the dust.
I will always love doing social media and blogging strategy. But just because I want to work doesn’t mean I want to keep trading hours for money. For sure, I don’t want to work until I’m 60. And so, the goal is to create systems so that I still give value to those who come for brand consulting, coaching, but spend less hours being physically doing the work. This can be achieved through my new books, some webinars that we are cooking up, and limited number of consulting spots for those truly serious about growing their brands. This means letting go completely of certain services and automating current ones. These will also help filter out my non-ideal clients (those who need hand-holding and my constant presence).
So, hello to new things! Now that I have “fired” myself from certain roles, I can breathe easier, work more efficiently (and with better results), work with clients who are really the best fit (and I for them).
Have you ever had to “fire” yourself as a coach, a consultant or service provider? How did you look at the situation? Let’s share our experiences in the comments. (Or I invite you to start a topic in our Facebook Group, the Blissful Brands & Businesses)
Last Saturday was a bright and early day for me and ten other ladies who wanted to get their writing on. I held my second “Write Blissfully” workshop for this mix of bloggers and small business owners, where we enjoyed a whole day of real learning and straight up workin’ it!
Why a writing workshop? Because even after loads of blogging workshops, people still get stuck on the writing. It becomes a challenge for people to sit down and really get to writing a quality article that they actually want to post on their blogs.
V-Office in One Global Place was a wonderful venue for this learning event. I usually have my blogging workshops in restaurants and cafes, but since this one is about getting some real output, I have done it in professional venues. It’s also part of the mindset that if you want to grow your blog and leverage it towards building a brand or a business, you have to treat it professionally. The fun is there, of course, because it can be really fun to have a blog! But starting strong and beginning professionally can often separate the working blogs from those that really work and create opportunities for the one behind the blog.
(I love V-Office’s functional space and speedy wifi! Everyone was able to reference the blogs I cited as examples, while they scrutinized their own blogs. Thanks, V-Office!)
Expectations are always important when starting these workshops, so that’s what we did first. Everyone had a chance to share their purpose for being at the event, which gave me a better idea of how to go through the workshop so that everyone could get something meaningful from the lessons. I love finding out about each and everyone’s mission and purpose for their blogs. I just thrive on listening to their reasons! This is why I love blogging, because everyone can really bring something new to the table. Everyone can be a storyteller, an expert in their own right, a creator of their unique profession, a business owner.
The system that I used as the framework of our blog writing lesson is something that I use in my one-on-one writing coaching sessions. It’s very different in a group setting, because everyone works at the same time, within the same time frame, to get their output for the day. Once the system was taught, everyone had a chance to clarify the components and the methods they would each use, to come up with their blog posts.
I love how everyone just embraced the process. It wasn’t an easy system to “teach,” because what I did was I “dissected” my own writing process, put it into 4 steps, and taught it as a method.
During the afternoon, everyone had around 1 1/2 hours to just write. Why the time constraints? Because if we compel ourselves to write at a specific time, within a specific time frame, we can really create a habit of writing. If you want to use blogging as a way to grow your brand and get collaborations; if you want blogging to be a key component in growing your business, then the writing can’t be something you do “when I have the time.” It’s got to be part of the business, the overall plan.
I’m happy to say that everyone accomplished a well-written blog post at the end of the session, and we were all able to share the completed posts to our group mates. As an added value, I also offered each participant a complimentary blog critique and editing session, after the workshop! So each one came out of the session with (1) a system of writing posts that makes blogging easier and even meaningful and (2) a completed blog post that they can publish on their blogs.
And here is our happy second batch! Congrats, ladies!
I would like to thank Alfox Printing Services for providing our printed materiels, modules and certificates! They are such a wonderful workshop partner, and I can’t wait to have them as future workshop collaborators. (They have a wonderful online ordering system that makes it easy for business owners to create collaterals and other printed matter!)
I’d also like to thank v-Office for the wonderful venue and services. I highly recommend their instant office facility for small businesses and startups who are looking for office solutions and secretarial services!
Thanks also to our Yashica Skincare and Neutraorganics Aromatherapy for our care packages!
Homeschooling is in our families’ DNA, it seems. Since we were homeschooled by our parents in the 1990s, my brothers and I were used to being the “oddballs.” Here we were, not in physical school, doing things like ministry work after studies, serving the urban poor for “social studies”, reaching out to students through concerts and retreats as part of “religion credit”, while our counterparts were having a normal school life. Admittedly, it was hard on some of us (by us, I mean our fellow homeschoolers in the church), because we didn’t really understand the purpose of our unconventional education. I guess our parents went with what they felt would prepare us well for the future.
While our homeschooling days were fraught with several questions (by us, the kids), some misjudgment by our parents (as they would later admit), and a lot of trial and error, we ended up “normal.” My brothers went on to put up their own companies, in the areas of digital marketing (HoneyComb Communities & HoneyComb Arts) and speciality coffee (El Union). You all know my story, of course: I skipped college, started working as a homeschool programs manager for Living Saints Tutorial & Homeschool Support; managed a freelance writing business on the side; got into blogging and created a job I love through the blogging industry. And I am a huge proponent of unconventional learning.
Looking back to my youth, I remember how angry I would get thinking that I’d missed out on things like my senior prom or some trad school ritual my peers had all gone through. But now I see the wisdom of my particular path of homeschooling (actually, unschooling, because I also went against the “schooling at home” model of the homeschool system we were using at the time). I’ve gone through some of the harshest experiences as a young adult, a new wife and a neophyte mom. And you know what? I have my homeschool years to thank for giving me the gumption to barrel through these challenges head on.
As a parent now, I see what my parents were doing those years I was homeschooled: They were allowing me to plant my roots deep, so that I could be prepared for whatever the future had for me. Now really, my parents had no clue this is what they were doing. (Because I asked them, haha!) In fact, they will probably say we were homeschooling because everyone who was anyone in our church was homeschooling. (Which, let’s admit, can be true sometimes.) But, even if that was the reason, I being me will always see the nugget of gold in all this.
I mean, how many of us can admit we really always know what we’re doing as homeschoolers, right?
Even if my parents didn’t realize it or make an intentional plan to “root” us to our personal beliefs… well, that’s what happened. In their case as Catholics, they entrusted us and their parenting to God, who filled in for the lack wherever there was lack. And I think we turned out strong!
My brothers and I did at some point feel like our homeschool path was to our detriment, because we were “odd” compared to the rest of the world. But it turns out, we were being prepared for the world as it is now.I am so glad that today, we don’t care about conventions and traditional schooling. Or maybe “not care” is harsh: We are OK being different. It’s made us able to stand my the convictions we have now as individuals. We are not perfect, but I can tell you confidently that we are open-minded and adapt to any situation. No work? We’ll make something out of the situation. Really.
And that’s what being firmly rooted is about. Preparing our kids to soar, for life.
Now, we were pretty much alone in the 1990s while we were homeschoolers, so we had little to no “oddballs” to relate with and go to for support. The great thing about he 21st century is that homeschooling is now widely recognized and supported, even here in the Philippines.
This October 22, the Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands, or HAPI for short, together with Educating For Life, is once again mounting the annual Philippine Homeschool Conference, an annual gathering packed with information and inspiration for people who want to learn more about homeschooling, are just getting started, or need “tools” to improve their homeschooling experience.
The Philippine Homeschool Conference (PHC) has become the annual “must-attend event” of homeschoolers in the Philippines. Parents who have attended previous conferences will agree that it is something worth going to. This year, HAPI, in cooperation with Philam Life, is setting up the PHC to be even bigger and better than before. Set to take place from 7 a.m. (start of registration) to 6 p.m. on October 22, 2016 at the SMX Convention Center, SMX Aura Premier in Taguig City, the PHC 2016 bears the theme “From Roots to Wings: Homeschooling through the Stages”
Bearing the theme in mind, the PHC 2016’s line-up of speakers includes international and local speakers who are passionate homeschooling advocates, and are also experienced homeschoolers.
The PHC 2016 Expo is also sure to delight any homeschooler with its offerings of products and services that can help them provide their kids with a rich learning experience. Keynote speakers include Deonna Tan-Chi, Joy Tan-Chi Mendoza, U.S.-based speaker Andrew Pudewa, on “Motivation: The Art and Science of Helping Children Learn Well,” Bo Sanchez on “Wings to Soar: Leaving a Legacy for Our Children” who, aside from being one of my favorite leaders, is an unschooler.
The deadline for online registration payments for the PHC 2016 is October 15, 2016 after which the registration fee on the day will be P1,200 per head. To register and/or learn more about the PHC 2016 registration process, participants may log on to www.educatingforlife.co for complete details. Follow the Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands on Facebook, or look for the hashtags #PHC2016 and/or #fromrootstowingsphc
For more details of the PHC 2016 registration process, program, speakers’ profiles, and other details, please visit the PHC 2016 event organizer’s website www.educatingforlife.co
ABOUT THE PHC 2016 ORGANIZERS
The Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI), is a non-stock, non-profit organisation that aims to equip homeschooling groups and organisations in growing the national homeschooling movement. HAPI has partnered with Educating For Life (EFL) to mount the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2016. EFL was founded by homeschooling parents to support families who have courageously decided to take the path less taken in educating their children.
We had the opportunity to staycation at the Ascott Makati recently! It’s not the first time we’ve stayed here, but it was the first time for us to experience the new look since the Ascott Makati’s big renovation. We actually first noticed the renovations a couple of months ago, when we snuck off to Cafe on the 6th for a quiet escape from the mall crowds. Prior to that, I hadn’t been to the Ascott in some years, the last time being my brother’s wedding, come to think of it!
We were booked in a premiere one-bedroom suite, which is honestly the size of our current home, haha! That’s what I love about the Ascott Makati, really. The rooms and residences are so spacious! You can really live here (and many do, in fact, considering their loyal clientele of long-staying residents).
As a serviced residence, the Ascott affords visitors with hotel accommodations along with the conveniences of a home. Every residence has a fully-equipped kitchen with all the best appliances, cookware and dinnerware. (We actually stayed in during our time here, and ordered room service, as well as pizza from nearby Yellow Cab, and Chinese food from the restaurants in Glorietta 4, just below!)
The kids enjoyed the luxurious beds and vast amounts of space, of course. Vito took it upon himself to direct us on how to make some kind of “fort” from the extra bed that was brought in for him. I love this aspect about the Ascott: They are family friendly! In fact, many long-staying families enjoy living in the Ascott, thanks to its amenities like their Cubbies kids club and playroom, which offers activities for kids of residences, to encourage friendships among those within the residential community.
I love the new look! The most notable, for me, were the rose gold lighting fixtures in each residence and along the elevator foyers on each floor. The design is specifically crafted for the Ascott Makati brand. Everything from the furniture to the furnishings is now more minimalist and modern, in keeping with the times. There’s lots of natural light, no matter what type of residence you’re in.
Even in the smallest studio-type unit, you get lots of natural light. (I love this nifty divider, which separates the bedroom area from the living area.)
Of course, the Ascott Makati is complete with all the amenities for those who need a gym to work out, a swimming pool, even a spa.
Thank you, Ascott Makati, for taking care of our family last weekend! We enjoyed our staycation immensely. If you would like your own Ascott #LuxeLiving experience, I suggest booking through their website at the-ascott.com‘s Philippine portal. You can still get the best rates for your holiday bookings, like for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, so book early!