Last May, I was sent to a 3-Day Self-Leadership Programme for work. I expected it to be a series of lectures on how to be a leader and some practical execution of leaderships skills like public speaking or leading an on-the-spot project. I was wrong. Instead it was a fun, relaxing and intense 3-day workshop of games, sharing , meeting new people, meditation, dancing and looking into oneself. I grew up studying in Catholic schools and the methods used in the workshop resembles that of the retreat I often had in my schools. Mind you, the facilitator wasn’t a priest. He was a very energetic, charismatic ex-Navy guy.
One of the portion of the workshop was To Make Your Life Mission Statement. This concept wasn’t alien to me. I have encountered the search for my life mission when I read Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One of the habits is Begin With An End In Mind. And this is where your life mission statement belongs. It is best to have your own life statement which drives everything that you do to achieve that mission.
I have to admit, those times when I read the book. I still haven’t got my life mission statement down pat. But when I got into blogging and with an intense desire to improve my blog, I reexamine my blog branding with deep analytical introspection.
When I started blogging, I created my Blog Title Header to Little Miss Honey. It is me. My name is Honey and I am “Little”, plus it has a nice ring to it. Following the footsteps of one of my blog idols, Patty Laurel, she used a tagline call to action which is Come Waste Time With Me. I wanted to follow that same context of a call-to-action tagline. I somehow derived the tagline of Explore Life’s Surprises With Me. I forgot how I came up with it and it stucked.
Photo on my header of my 1st blog
During the time when I reexamined my blog, I came to another conclusion and derived another tagline, another life mission statement. It became my anchor and guiding voice in my life. I came up with – To Inspire & Be Inspired. I hope to inspire people in my blog articles, my endeavour and how I live my life. And at the same time, I get fueled if I get inspired by everything around me – positive people, travels, books, beautiful scenery, culture, food, etc.
I wanted to get rid of my old blog tagline: Explore Life’s Surprises With Me. I wanted my blog to reflect and parallel my life vision and exploring life’s surprises seems not what I am going for. And so I thought…
That 3-day workshop allowed me to contemplate and analyze deeper in my life, my direction and how I have been living it. I realized I have two life mission statement: To Inspire & Be Inspired and Explore Life’s Surprises.
Allow me to talk more about the latter. I didn’t realize that I have been living the 2nd Life Mission Statement for some time now. I didn’t realize indeed that I have been exploring life’s surprises for years now.
Exploring Life’s Surprises may sound more appropriate for an adventurous, sporty-looking gal. I am far from it. I look like a timid little girl who would enjoy a peaceful time at home with a good book. Actually, I don’t just look like it, I am that girl. I love planning and making to-do lists. I do get anxious with change. I would often take calculated steps. But inspite of this seemingly unadventurous lady, I didn’t stay in my comfort zone and took life’s unexpected opportunities with high hopes mixed with anxiety and fear.
I learned from my mother, the real adventurer, that life is a playground for us to explore. She advocates travelling and trying out new things. She is a risk-taker and often would say yes to opportunities. She said an opportunity only knocks once, grab it . So ingrained in my subconscious and my genes, I did take on exploring life’s surprises, took the road-less travelled and yes to the unknown with a little bit of logical thinking and prudence I got from my dad.
To illustrate here are some points in my life where I allow it to surprise me. I have wonderful discoveries. I say yes to new learnings and lots of travel opportunities. Sometimes I would chose a different path, not a common decision to most. It is often scary and at times, unpopular.
1. Left Our Comfortable Home in the Philippines and Lived & Studied in the Saudi Arabia
Ok, so this was actually more like my parents’ decision. I love the school I went to before we left Saudi Arabia. I was doing well in school and I was even up to represent my school for an interschool singing contest. But I am glad we did try out living in the interesting, hot, conservative Middle East. It has opened up my eyes to new discoveries and allowed me to be flexible & adjust to new cultures & surrounding. I will tell you more about my life in Saudi Arabia someday.
2. Returned to the Philippines for college and medical school initially living only with trusted helpers
It can be scary. I was a 16 year old clueless girl leaving very far from the guidance of my parents and the companionship of my siblings. I could have lost my way but I didn’t. I learned so much about myself during those years. Luckily, in a few years my siblings followed me in the Philippines.
3. Tried living in the southern region of the Philippines that doesnt speak my dialect and changing my medical specialisation choice from the one that I have been working for eversince
Some choices I made did not necessary translate to longterm results but it was a learning experience. I realized that Davao was not for me and neither was Psychiatry. So I packed my things and went back to Iloilo. And found my calling in Family Medicine.
4. I accepted a job as a doctor in Singapore freshly out of residency, just engaged to a nice man and clueless of the advanced medical system in the first world country.
I never planned to work in Singapore. I had mapped out my plans after residency training. I was to return to Saudi Arabia and work in my father’s same company. But the Singapore offer came. And I said, yes! I love the feeling of being on my own in a foreign land. But it was a difficult time too. Adjusting to my new work with high stress level, getting to know new people and being far from my fiancé.
5. I said yes to all travel opportunities
My mom has influenced us in the love for travelling. So our family has been travelling to different countries every year. And my hubby and I have been practicing that yearly travel or more in our own little family.
6. Raising our sons in Singapore
It is not easy raising our sons in a foreign land. It is challenging and expensive with the nanny & school cost. But we took in the challenge so we can see our kids grow up before our eyes.
7. Pursued blogging in Singapore while being a doctor
Blogging is hard work. You need to make time. You need to be consistent. You need to be open for improvement and take advice from experts. It can be especially hard for me because I have a full time job and a mom to two active, clingy, cute boys. After 8 years of blogging, my hardwork is slowing bearing fruits and in a foreign land no less. I now can monetize my blog and consider it as secondary source of income. I started getting collaboration and emails from brands, PR agencies and companies. I get invites for events and food tastings. I also would get freebies for review. But if I would have been too scared to pursue it, I may even not answer email invites because I am too shy to socialize with local bloggers at events or find my blogger skills to mediocre to be placed out there.
8. Decided to venture into healthcare admin work and gave up medicine
My license to practice as a doctor in Singapore ended last April of this year. I had fun in my 4 year sojourn in Singapore. I didn’t mind going back to the Philippines or trying other countries. But I got a job offer – to work in the same company as a Quality Management Assistant Manager. I have no skills in administrative work. I dont know how to work a spreadsheet. I am so clueless of what is going on behind the scenes of healthcare. But as Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Airlines, said, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure how to do it- say yes then learn how to do it later. ” So that is just what I did. Yes it is hard. Adjusting is tough but I have been learning so many things and I am grateful.
I have a lot more but I guess I will stop at 8. My life journey may not be as high-adrenaline-pumping-kind-of adventure or a leave-my-country-and-a-travel-nomad-kind-of life choices. But I took on life with calculated risk and contemplation but I also said yes to things that may even scare me and are often not the easiest choice. I allow life to surprise me and I am willing to explore what else it can bring me. I didn’t realize it but I have been living my tagline as my life mission for years now.
How about you? What is your life mission?