Day 1: My Work #7DaysOfGratitude

So our intention for yoga class this morning was Gratitude. As I usually do take the time to recognize the little things that make life awesome, like the 1st sip of morning coffee or hot chocolate, or breathing in and out deeply and feeling the air course through my body, here is a more structured way for me to share other more catch-all stuff I’m grateful for. Part 1 of my #7DaysOfGratitude offering?

My work.

Why? 7 reasons:

1. Gripping intellectual dialogue at the workplace a.k.a. The Incubator a.k.a. The Foundation is ubiquitous. Case in point:

Boss 1: We need to rethink these strategic matters. (In reference to hackathons–) We should have an orgathon, or something.

Boss 2: Ah, an orgathon. That’s good. As long as it’s not an orgy.

See? My hunger for stimulating discourse and green tendencies, satiated.

2. Mentorship by alpha geeks, under-the-radar greats, and awesome people who blend executional caliber with social impact.

Back in the time when I was relatively immature, I had a judgment and mental model against rich people. It must have been shaped by the context of a feudal, island-culture thing. I am so happy to discover how wrong I’ve been in this judgment, as I am finding myself surrounded by financially successful people who have the heart and mind to help others through the market relevance of their ventures, and even taking the energies to mentor those who are in the journey of going through the lower end of the Technology S-Curve, in the pursuit of fostering more success stories in the ecosystem.

PH Startup community people, why you so awesome?!

3. Arguments on how to serve people best.

Now, for the benefit of those who aren’t familiar about business incubation, two of the things it is about are that it’s psychological and emotional. It is beyond dealing with ROIs and balancing portfolios. If anything, it is about fostering shared ownership. As The Foundation and its founders learn together, I love how there is that deliberate effort to spur objectivity, to build the ability to critique internal tactics and operations in the pursuit of translating it to actionables for improvement.

4. Diversity. Different folks. Different strokes. Common Thread.

The people I work with all come from different backgrounds. The common thread? They are all smart. I am in awe of how my new colleague who is younger than me can poke holes at an assumption in the spirit of creating a more robust program. I love how I am learning that there are different types of rich (boat, commercial plane, private plane, space – you get the idea) through side conversations. I love how my teammate has become comfortable with sharing his story on his own regrets as a student in the past, and using that as a story to encourage students now to maximize their opportunities. I love how I have co-conspirators who have a deep sense of their individual why’s and have the ability to thread these to the advocacy of The Foundation.

5. Passion.

There is not one day since I’ve first stepped inside The Incubator that I have not felt this. It just overflows. More so, heading over to different communities in the country has allowed me to discover more movers and shakers, whether as entrepreneurs, community volunteers or supporters. The more amusing part is they don’t even know it. Such humble people. And it always gives me major #Feels whenever I discover stories of grit. Take the likes of this student startup who participated in the latest competition of The Foundation, didn’t make it to the last cut, but stuck to their idea. I listened to them pitch at a Soc Ent competition over the weekend and they now have a pretty awesome prototype. The whole hall was in awe. That’s pretty bad-ass market validation for them. Another story I love to share is the one of our founders from the 1st batch who came all the way from Tawi-Tawi, underwent a pretty rough childhood, dreamt big, and funneled that ambition to execution. And yes, his team has been generating several millions in revenue in short of a year from graduating The Foundation’s program.

6. Convergences.

Others subscribe to worklife balancing; I subscribe to worklife integration. The things I’m learning now in technology management, or the stuff I learned before on finance and portfolio management, economics and ecosystems all makes much more sense now. Even the stuff I’m learning in yoga about the importance of self-awareness, of embracing a long-term mindset and appreciating the journey are things I see manifested in the stories being fostered in The Foundation. People often tell me that I must be busy, considering how often I work on weekends, or that it’s weird when they discover I’m an introvert in spite of doing community work. Well, being a #StartupGroupie is a lifestyle, and cannot be compartmentalized as a 9-to-5 thing. And my introverted apprehensions to get myself out there is trumped by my hunger to discover more wonderful stories from people that are worth emulating – those with deep, solid foundations, those that combat the building foam of glamorized images of startup life.

And this leads me to my 7th bit:

7.Being giddy about doing another post on sharing the specifics of what I do

…which I will do soon.

My friends keep asking. Even my dates keep asking. Would make sense to just write about it, yeah?

So there. Item #1 of stuff to be grateful for – being in the wonderful web of IdeaSpace. Onwards!

Thank you, Universe!

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Reflections on Ganesha

Ahh, obstacles. They make us feel uncomfortable. They make me feel uncomfortable. Suffice it to say that the past two weeks have been uncomfortable.

Ganesha is said to be the god who removes the obstacles that come in our lives. Other proponents believe that Ganesha actually puts obstacles to serve as checkpoints in our lives, to allow us to stop, reflect and realize whether we’re treading on the right path.

Is comfort the end goal? Does happiness entail a constant state of comfort? I have yet to find literature that preaches this notion. I do often hear that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. There are externalities that are givens, but it is ultimately up to us as to how we choose to react and handle these circumstances. It takes a certain internal balance to adapt with given externalities.

A good friend introduced me to the literature of Osho, and does this person have wonderful, convergent insights on the different philosophies of the world! In the chapter where I’m in, he speaks of how we can foster real unadulterated love, as love is not bound by the physical. Our physical selves are bound by natural limitations and obstacles such that we feel discomfort when we, say, stand up for too long, or sit for too long. It is in our horizontal way of rest by lying down that we work around the imposed discomfort of gravity. Β But then again, we can only do so much when in a horizontal state.

Such is the virtue of finding comfort in the uncomfortable. When we want to learn and understand more about ourselves and our milieu, we have to accept such givens. In the process of swimming against the current of discomfort and of obstacles, there is a natural sense of doubt. But as a good friend would often say, there are noΒ failures, only lessons. The more lessons, the more learning.

I’ve never put much thought when my yoga teacher would often say that “the teacher in me honors the teacher in each and every one of you”. Given this new stint involving an elevated level of responsibility, andΒ working with contemporaries, perceived superiors and subordinates in the corporate hierarchy, one thing remains clear: we all learn from each other. You and I are not so different. We are the same energy expressed differently, with our own unique quirks.

In my two weeks of dealing with an entirely new environment, new city, new people, new user interfaces for work tools, new structures, and new leadership, I found myself giving up a lot of what I’ve been accustomed to. I spend more time travelling to my new office, I spend more time working. I am having challenges squeezing in my yoga practice as I often find myself spent after a long workday. I have had to opt out of bonding sessions with friends. This time around, it’s not just about me and my output anymore. It is about my team, and I am only as good as my team.

Ahh, priorities and trade-offs. It is but necessary. I feel grateful to have had lunch with a good friend who’s taught me so much. This time, talk of priorities, trade-offs, and taking care of one’s health was on the roster. I always thought I could do everything. Last year, I learned the lesson that I didn’t have to be all things to all people. This time around, I am getting the feeling that I will learn how it is not to be everything to everything. The jack of all trades is a master of none. Cliche but true?

If we all knew what we were doing and were sure of the outcomes of our efforts, then insurance companies would run out of business, right? I once again find myself in a space of overwhelming doubt and uncertainty. But these are externalities, and I chose to get myself in the circumstance of breaking new ground.Β Life is a gamble and we are our own persons. We cannot simply blame unfavorable outcomes on others. We have the power to influence the outcome. The more we believe that we can, we are able to.


Inner Battle

It is seven minutes shy ’til 8AM and I am still in bed, engaging in an internal debate whether I should go to Yoga class or not. I still haven’t gotten onto the meat of my presentation outline for the business review session set with our partners this week. I have been experiencing pain in my left wrist for several days now. I sprained my right thumb during Gentle Flow class yesterday morning when I carelessly landed on my spider fingers instead of my palms. I could be spending time doing other things.

But the Sunday morning Sun is glorious and wonderful. It is only fitting to pay gratitude by way of Surya Namaskars.

Pain reminds me of my humanness. Pain is an intense feeling but it is, like most other things in this world, temporary. I look forward to learning more from what my body will tell me today.

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu.

I wish everyone a jubilant and fruitful Sunday morning!