I thought I got it all figured out.
For the past 2 years, I was living my dream job, as a Learning and Development Manager for the vast Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet people from all walks and to play a part in shaping them to be a better colleague, manager, leader and a better person in general. Also, I had the chance to learn, experiment and deliver many types of learning initiatives, from webinars to blended programs and even online campaigns.
Life, as unexpected as it is, took a sharp turn… my loving mother passed on. My world plunged into deep sadness and despair. It was sudden. None of us, my family and friends, saw this coming. It was then that I’ve became deeply aware of my mortality. #yolo took on a deeper meaning.
You really only live once.
In my grief, I’ve begun to question and reflect upon my life. Why am I here? Am I truly living my purpose, my values? Do I really want to be doing what I’m doing today?
The answers I found did not sit well. In my search to reconcile the life I had built and the passing of mother, I was led to Steve Job’s commencement speech at Stanford University 2005
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
In his speech, Steve Jobs had asked himself for many years…
If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?
Struck by this question, I searched for my list of life goals. My life goals were written neatly on a simple piece of paper and folded between the pages of my diary. On the list, among other things, is…
Running my own business.
I’ve had this item on my list for many years. What stopped me was my fear of not being good enough; not enough experience, not enough capabilities, not enough certificates and just not enough. I wondered and looked in awe at other entrepreneurs… How they can achieve so much? What was missing within me?
As they say, the teacher appears when the student is ready. My answers, rather naturally, appeared in my daily reflections. – These successful entrepreneurs achieve so much because they worked hard. What was missing within me was the courage to take the first step.
I started saying to myself… “I am good enough. If I don’t have the right experience, I’ll learn from my failures and mistakes and become a better person for it.” I decided to take the leap of faith… and started my own learning and development consultancy firm.
Spark Learning Solutions was born.
In delivering my programs, I would often say to my audience “for as long as you live, learn as much as you can.” I truly believe that we can all be a better person and lead fulfilling lives as long as we continue in our efforts to learn and grow.
To spread this way of thinking and being, Spark Learning Solutions will be focused on supporting organisations in people development through learning initiatives. It is my mission to inspire people from all walks by rekindling their thirst for learning.
Starting a business is not easy. The learning curve is very steep. Being a solo-preneur can be a lonely experience. But I am blessed. Perhaps due to my past lives of good deeds, I’m blessed with advisors, supporters and cheerleaders in my journey so far. I’m ever so grateful to have the positive cheer and motivation of friends from almost everywhere. The wise advise and consultation from peers in the industry. Most of all, I’m truly blessed to have the unconditional love and support from my family.
Thank you mom and dad for giving me this blessed life.
It is expected that running a business will be filled with many obstacles and challenges. Though, I wake up everyday knowing that I’m pursuing my goals and living my life authentically. A few years ago, my ex-manager gifted an Edward Monkton coaster and its quote always brings a smile…
Follow your heart. For your heart will always know the answer. But if it tells you to strangle kittens or something then don’t follow it anymore. I mean, it’s only a heart right? It’s not the Dalai Lama.
Thank you for reading my blog post so far. I wish you all the best in pursuing your passions, chasing your dreams and living a life well lived.
If you believe I can help you in anyway, or if you just want to say “hi”, feel free to drop me a note.
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