In life, the decisions we make can either define us or destroy us. When deciding, we have to weigh the benefits we’ll get out of it. And sometimes, we just have to do what we feel is right whether it is a personal aspect or job-related matter (either as a friend or as an executive search consultant).
I have always been decisive all my life about what I want to do, what to eat, what to buy and other things except when I had to decide what course to take right after my high school graduation. The only thing I clearly wanted was to get a name suffix. It was very hard for me to go after my brother who became a topnotch Architect. So, I listed down my options one by one—Maryanne Mendoza, RN? No way. MD? Bloody no. Atty? No. PhD? Maybe? Although I didn’t want to deal with so much blood, deaths, and law, I really wanted to wear an all white uniform, something that will make me look clean, respectable and can set me apart from the rest of the crowd in school. I really had such petty problems back then and had no idea that it was the easiest part of life.
I decided to take up Psychology. Why not? I’ve always been my friends’ go-to person when they have problems. Also, I love thriller books and movies about serial killing. I enjoyed my entire college life. We studied a lot of cool stuff and mental illnesses and yes, I got to wear a white uniform. Right after graduation, I said to myself: “I want to be a Psychologist or a Guidance Counselor”. And then here I am, six years after, proudly working as a Search Consultant. I don’t feel bad at all because there’s not much of a difference, I’ll tell you why.
Every single day, I interview a candidate. I listen to their stories; discover their strengths, weaknesses, secrets and problems. I also know why they left the bosses they hate, why they joined a new company, what motivates and what frustrates them. Sometimes, I also suggest what they can do. I tell them, “It’s about time for you to move out of your comfort zone” or I praise them and say “Wow, that’s impressive. You did a really great job”. Whenever I do reference or background checks I get to confirm the things they lied about and tell myself “I knew it”. It’s the same banana.
Along the way, I realized how my slight and temporary indecisiveness turned me into the person I’ve always wanted to be. I realized that all I wanted was to have a prestigious job which is partly charity. A job that can give me self fulfillment but at the same time an opportunity to help people, listen to stories and give advice. My job now is that job. I give jobs to people; I help them out when they’re desperate to move out. I help companies and people grow, I help them succeed and achieve their goals.
Life is full of decisions to make and options to choose. It can evolve really fast. You will most likely go back to that moment when you felt you didn’t know what to do. And then you ask yourself again, what else can I do? Apart from my job, what else can describe me? And then you become that high school fresh graduate again.
One of my previous bosses, Ben, once told me that my job/profession should not fully define who I am. He told me that if ever I will lose my job, something else should tell who I really am. I took it by heart. And so I decided to do things that I don’t necessary “like” but the things I didn’t know I can do. As a person, I became very adventurous. I enjoyed doing things that will push me to my limits. I like activities that can show that in spite of lack of height, I am strong, and that like Stephen Curry, I can do all things. Learned to surf, I traveled a lot. Also, just recently, I tried boxing – which I love! I can now shrug off stress with a left or right hook, jab and straight.
Talking about “I can do all things”, I have to confess, I really suck at math but hey I’m trying. I had to face my most dreaded subject and decided to take up MBA – yes a math intensive course. As of this writing, I’m still in the process of suffering due to excessive number crunching but I am learning. I have proven that after 16 years in school, I can now do math, there’s still hope. It was a tough ride but learning to enjoy math is a major achievement for me.
Two of the things I learned, know what you want and do whatever it takes just to make it possible. Next, know what you can’t do and learn to do it. One more advice that I carry with me all the time, as you start to mature, you realize that it isn’t about being the best in a certain field or profession. It is about having a little bit of everything. When you’re stuck in a situation where you can’t choose between two options, it means you are blessed. You are blessed to be given an opportunity to choose the path that you will take. It’s a matter of being brave enough to walk towards that path and take on whatever obstacles that will come your way. Be happy, be thankful and pay forward…always.
Now, I can proudly say that I am the youngest Search Consultant / Practice Head in RGF Executive Search Philippines, an almost graduating MBA student (I’ll get that name suffix M.B.A no matter what) a quasi boxer, a traveler, a reader, a confident and competitive person and most of all, a God-fearing person.
Cheers to all the things we thought we couldn’t do but we did anyway! (And realized it was surprisingly easy).