A Lesson on Resilience (by Pat Mallari)

When was the last time you told yourself, “maybe next time?”

You lost a promotion in the office. Maybe next time.

You missed the chance to tell your crush that you like him or her. Maybe next time.

You missed an opportunity to fulfill your dreams. Maybe next time.

For others, their next time may be their careers. For others it may be their love life. For many though, it’s their destiny to live a full life.

Let me share my own “maybe next time.”

In 2013, two years into working, I attended a public speaking bootcamp by Bo Sanchez, the Catholic preacher. Because of that bootcamp, I felt the urgent need to pursue my dream and become a motivational speaker. I imagined myself as a speaker. I thought of ideas to start my speaking career.

I sought the counsel of my parents about resigning and becoming a full-time speaker. To my surprise, it was a decision they did not support. For the first time in my life, instead of supporting me, my parents lectured me. They sternly reminded me how tough it was to get a job and how I should be thankful for my current work.

I was crying like a baby because of the massive pain I felt inside. No matter what I said, I could not convince them to support my desire to step out of the comforts of the corporate world. I could not convince them that I would be happy and financially successful as a motivational speaker.

As parents, they wanted to protect me from even the slightest risk of failure.

My parents belong to the generation of baby boomers. As a generation, they have a specific and—to a millennial’s view—limited range of success with regard their professions and the companies worth working for.

The idea of taking personal risks such as starting your own business, joining a startup company, or in my case, exiting a famous multinational company only to work as a freelancer, was considered horrifying.

No. It was, in fact, unbelievable!

So after hours of talking with my parents (and a lot of crying on my part), my Dad finally laid down the law when he said, “Tiisin mo ‘yan (Endure it!)!” Endure the challenges, endure the criticism, endure not getting what I wanted.

When my Dad said that, my first thought was, “What do you mean dismiss my dreams? Do you mean I should just endure whatever unhappiness I’m experiencing at work?” #IsThisForReal

Of course, I stayed silent. My responsibilities as the eldest child was too ingrained. I felt deeply disrespectful with just the idea of voicing out my feelings. I go back to the strong Filipino family value of utang na loob (being beholden). For me, to not follow my parent’s orders and stay at my work is tantamount to rebellion.

I have too much respect and gratitude for my parents to hurt them.

So I said, “Okay, maybe next time.”

The next day, I marched to the office with swollen eyes, mentally digging a grave for my dreams and telling myself that I will never resurrect them.

I thought angrily to myself, “I’ve got to make this work, work!”

With a heavy heart, I continued to work for corporate.

But God consoled me. By staying in the company, I was given the opportunity to rotate in different departments and learn so much more about marketing and doing business in general.

A few months later, I was sent to Singapore. It was here that I first learned how to live alone as an expat.

When I returned to Manila, I was well-equipped to handle my next assignment. I marketed a particular ice cream brand and got to launch successful television commercials and new flavors.

That success led me to be sent to Malaysia to help build a marketing team in a very turbulent market.

That turned out very well, too. It was a back-to-back victory.

I was on a roll with my corporate life!

So when I looked back at that night when my Dad said, “Tiisin mo ‘yan!” I had more wisdom and understood why. I realized that my parents, like many parents, were speaking from experience. They lived a longer period of time compared to me and my generation. So they have some valuable wisdom to share.

My father wanted me to learn resilience. If I left Unilever too soon, I would not have been sent abroad to learn from people in different parts of the world. I would not have been able to deepen my knowledge about marketing and business-building.

Dad believed in me so much that instead of sympathizing, he took the tough approach. He knew I could rise above the challenges in my life and take advantage of the opportunities. I just needed to stay in the hard situation long enough to be stronger than ever.

I believe that it is the same with your parents, too. They only want what is best for us. They would never intentionally do us harm. So let’s do all we can to understand and respect them. What‘s important is that we fix our eyes on the future, having faith that everything will make sense one day while we continue to work on our dreams.

Often, a stigma is placed on us millennials: we are not resilient. We give up too easily.

As much as I would like to say that resilience is not important and we need only to pursue our own dreams, there is actual merit to being resilient.

Resilience means enduring problems and challenges.

Resilience is faith in the possibility of a future victory.

Resilience means humbling oneself to give space for learning and growth.

Each of us carry our own trials and tribulations. It could be the pressure of being the reliable one. It could be experiencing the pain of knowing what you want but cannot have. It could be yielding your dreams for the sake of others.

Dear fellow Filipino millennial, don’t feel that you’re on your own. You’re not alone on this journey of trying to figure out what you want to do. As someone who has also experienced these trials, I encourage you to hang on. Trust in the process of learning, doubting, and believing; it will become clearer in time.

In fact, don’t hide from the trials. Celebrate your pains! For it is only through these challenging circumstances that we can become stronger. One day, each of us will have a unique story to tell–a testament of victory and resilience. Your scars mark you well, just like a battle-hardened warrior who is honored in his or her own country. #KeepStrong

If you’re in a position where you’re not happy with what you’re doing, but you just can’t take action yet—it’s okay. Accept it and recognize that everything has a purpose. Things will fall into place in God’s time. It may be the value of resilience, patience, or endurance that He is teaching you.

Whatever it is, don’t give up! Embrace the moment and think that it’s only a part of the bigger picture that God has planned for you. #KayaMoYanBhes

KEY TAKEOUT: View your “maybe next time” as an opportunity to grow in endurance and resilience. These are values that you won’t learn if not for missed opportunities. Embrace it, receive it with joy, and pursue life in spite of the pain.


Coach Pat Mallari is a Manila-based life coach and author of the book DBALI: Dapa Bangon Lipad that tells stories of a Filipino in quarter life crisis. She is also a Part Time Facilitator of Personal Effectiveness at De La Salle University helping graduating college students transition from school life to real life. She dedicates her life to empower individuals to express their authentic selves courageously.

For more information on coaching and her books, visit www.patmallari.co.

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