This May, I find that my realizations and lessons revolved around purpose, perseverance, and relationships.
I’ve always deemed ‘purpose’ as something that is singular, grand, and fixed. It would show itself to me like this: Arli, you will work someday in an animation studio you love. If it doesn’t happen, then my purpose is gone in this world.
Sometimes, we relate it to our job or what we do for a living as well, and if our interests do not match our work, we think that our purpose is somewhere else.
Over the years, I’ve read articles and found myself dwelling on those that help you find your purpose.
Upon consulting the dictionary, these are its exact words for the definition: “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.”
Today, on this last day of May, I said that maybe it was close-minded of me to say that purpose was just found in a job. Maybe there are many reasons for why we live and the things we do – not just one, grand, and fixed on stone.
Last December, I came back to our home from Metro Manila, back to the province of Zambales, after I resigned from my corporate job of three years. I’ve lived in this place for years, our Lolo’s and Lola’s house, and only left it for a long time when I studied in Intramuros for college and worked in Makati. Since 2009, this is the only time again I get to be home for a long while.
One of the chores I’m tasked to do is to feed our pets. Even before, when I come home to the weekends after school and work, this was what I did to help.
While I was washing their plates and I looked to our smallest dog, Liit (the Tagalog word for small), that’s when the thought hit me.
This was my purpose.
And my Mom too who spent more time than I did with our cats and dogs over the years has this purpose.
This may sound funny or petty or small, but it’s not. It’s important. It was important for me to understand that that our purpose was connected to somebody else’s need.
I thought that without us, our four dogs (and all the other pets we’ve loved and took care of) and the stray cats who seem to love staying in our yard, will not have food to eat, water to drink, a shelter, care, and love.
Come to think of it, feeding the pets is the responsibility tied to the purpose of giving love and care to those we can reach. To fulfill a purpose – day in and day out – you take a responsibility and act on it.
And if we have provided the best care we can for these pets of ours until they pass away to Rainbow Bridge, a little pocket in heaven where animals whom we’ve loved on earth are in, then I can say that we’ve fulfilled one of the many purposes we have here in this life.
We have purposes (plural!), but I believe that there is still so much to learn about them. And purposes are something that invite another person into your life, something related to helping another in need, or something birthed from a relationship.
This leads me to my purpose as a daughter.
We can say that the purpose of a mother and a father is to raise their children well and with love, provide for them, teach them the principles of right and wrong, and several more. Maybe I will come to know more elaborately about the many beautiful purposes that our parents do if ever I do become a mother myself, if it is in God’s will in the future.
But first, I want to focus on being a daughter.
I’m going back to the definition of purpose: for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
I was created, so that I can be loved.
The Lord created me in my mother’s womb through the love of my Mother and Father.
You were created to come to know love.
My purpose – as a baby, as a child – was to be loved by my parents fully, responsibly, and selflessly. This can be a purpose that lets me be the beneficiary or recipient, but what about my purpose as a giver?
As I grow older into my twenties, this time where we’re trying to establish ourselves in the fields we’ve chosen, I’ve been awakened to a renewed sense of my purpose and responsibilities as a daughter.
I’m understanding much more what I couldn’t entirely see when I was younger, studying, and learning more about the world with curiosity and an adventurous mind. Maybe it was just a time where we were focused with ourselves and what we knew. All I worried about was quizzes, homework, exams, and the dreaded graded recitation – not just any graded recitation but the unannounced ones.
Now that I’m older and my gaze is more of outward thankfully, I’ve appreciated all the sacrifices that my Mom and Dad have done for our family and for me. I want to fulfill my purpose now as a daughter.
And for me, that is to honor and love my parents always, and a responsibility I commit myself to in fulfilling this purpose is by giving back in any way I can for all the grace, forgiveness, understanding, care, and love they gave me. A few concrete examples can be something as small as treating them for dinner, washing the dishes for them, and taking up other chores for them. And obeying them right then and there when they tell you to do something!
There are times when my Mom asks me to do something and I would say “Opo” but end up doing it thirty minutes after (even when I’m not even doing something important or urgent!) I’m guilty of that, but in our purpose and responsibility in loving our parents, we must obey without delay. Anyway, if we truly love someone, we will obey his or her commands, especially if we do know that what we’re being asked to consider or to do is truly good. If we truly love the Lord, we shall obey His commandments – that is one way to show it.
“By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome…” – 1 John 5:2-3
Before, as a child, unknowing and innocent, our purpose was to be loved, but as we grow older, our purposes increase.
Maybe purposes change too over the seasons once we’ve fulfilled the ones in front of us at a given instant or time, but there are constants, I believe.
Us being loved by our parents never changes. Us being loved by God never changes.
Maybe that’s one purpose I can say that is fixed: we were created to be loved by God, by others, and to love. Maybe that’s the one grand overarching purpose for all of us even if there are many other things we were called to do specifically.
If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook or if you follow me on Instagram, you may know that besides currently doing illustration and graphic design work full-time, I also have a health and wellness business. I started doing this last March, while my Mom started this last year.
And my goodness, it’s been a challenging ride so far! I will not go to the details anymore, but it pushes me emotionally, spiritually, mentally, financially, and even physically. But I can feel the growth – any pain that gets you growing more as a person is better than no pain by laying comfortably where you are.
A few weeks ago, my Mom and I attended a Philosophy of Success talk in Taguig where international speaker Philip Cheung spoke. Before he gave his talk, businessman Jonathan Chua presented first, and what I remembered best from him was his example of the NBA.
He said that during the playoffs and surely in the finals as well, we would see players in the losing side cry. But why did they cry – Mr. Chua asked – when they would still earn lots of money from playing?
It’s because the players play to win and not to lose.
They give their all in every game, in every quarter, to support each other and to bag their place to the playoffs or the championships.
There is a big difference between playing to win and playing not to lose.
And that is attitude.
If my attitude was fixed and if I focused on the tiny shortcomings I made in the business, the rejections, the doubts, and fears, I would not succeed in this business (let alone in any endeavor!). How shall I persevere if I worry too much about concerns like “I keep posting and posting and doing all that I can, but will it all bear fruit someday, or am I just talking to the wind?” Yes, those kinds of moments.
The wrong attitude tells me that the wind does not answer, but the right attitude will tell me that the wind sometimes whistles.
Attitude plays a strong and significant role in goals we put our minds to. When my Mom shared to me about the fixed and growth mindset too, every time I would put a limit to what I can do, she would say to me, “Fixed mindset!”
She’s reminding me that I was speaking and acting with a fixed mindset, meaning that I could never grow or improve anymore.
Our business ventures and even my journey into the full time artist life are truly stretching me more not just as a learning entrepreneur and artist but as a person as well. This challenges me to persevere more, because I want to fulfill my purposes in life and I want to help my Mom and Dad. I want my life to be bigger than I am. I want it to be for God and for others.
Which leads me to the last lesson: relationships.
Philip Cheung is not only an international speaker – he is an international speaker who dances. But when he went on stage during his talk, he danced a bit, but didn’t much because he wasn’t feeling well.
But he still continued the talk. He did it with excellence and with sincere connections to the audience. His energy was so contagious that you can’t help but feel happy too. He connected with us, he went down the stage and walked along the aisles to the back and to the front again. He would look at you in the eye as well.
You can say that he has a heart for people.
He reminded me of the universal importance of sincerely caring for one another and of giving time for one another.
In business, your income isn’t steady or sure as compared to an employee’s monthly income. It’s definitely a challenge when there are no clients, when someone cancels your meeting, when a customer says he will buy but soon after calls it off, and when people discourage you (even if one of those people is you). But then you have bills to pay.
So will you beg people to buy from you? Will you be desperate? Will you incessantly message them in inconvenient hours? Will you offer discounts, discounts, discounts to the point that you won’t even earn profit anymore and sacrificing the quality and perception of your product? Will your mind shift to just making money, money, money?
To know if a business is successful, I read before from an email subscription I have of Bo Sanchez, is not about how much money you make – he says that it’s about the people you’ve helped. In a business or economic perspective, maybe it’s mostly about the money, but the main reason we go into business is to help people.
When I observe my Mom, I wished that I could be more like her and follow her example. I, being introverted and shy, can sometimes feel communicating to others is difficult. But when I listen to my Mom talk to family and friends and potential clients she wants to help, I can see and feel that she truly and sincerely wants to help them with their health and with their living.
She makes time for them, she listens to them patiently; they get to talk about other non-business related stuff too. Sometimes, she does these things at her own inconvenience, sacrificing time to rest or to do other things. She acts with a heart for others.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted in one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” – Romans 12:9-13
Building relationships is essential not just in business only – it’s in everything. It’s in school, in work, in the family, in society. It’s an integral part of our humanity, of our hearts. Caring for people is to be intentional, real, and honest.
What we’re doing – even if we have good and honest intentions – will not come to fruition if we can’t get along with people, if we cannot empathize, if we cannot convey our love or care for them, if we show impoliteness or disrespect of their time and schedules, if they cannot see our earnestness or a reason to trust us. We must gain trust first for a relationship to work.
Kindness, respect, being polite and trust-worthy, and loving in our manner of conduct in everything is highly important, and no, we must not do these because we want to get something in return but because God calls us to be loving and good.
Being a multimedia artist, I’m mostly facing my screen or a piece of paper. But since I’m also venturing into sales, marketing, and even speaking or being in video in my other business, it provides me the chance to step away from my introverted self and shyness and connect with people, engage with them, and assess what I can do to help them in any way I can.
Because in business, in art, and in life, it’s not about what we can earn but what we can give out. What or to whom can our lives add value to? Whom can we serve with our unique set of talents, skills, resources, knowledge, and time?
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10
Just a reminder though for me and for us, may our lives not be centered around one particular point only like our jobs, business, or interests. We are many chapters, layers, and colors – to define ourselves entirely by these can be negative. (I’ve quite been in that episode recently). Rather, if we are to revolve our lives and decisions in something singular or encompassing all other aspects, may it be about Jesus.
Going back to purpose, all our perseverance and building our relationships point back to the main one: of loving God and our neighbors and accepting the love we are given as well.
Another important thing is to help others find their own sense of purpose, just like what Mark Zuckerberg stressed in his 2017 Commencement Speech given in Harvard University. (Thank you to Ate Kathy for sharing it over on Facebook!)
I have so much to learn more about these things too, and it’s always a never-ending learning stage for all of us in this life. God gives us the grace and time to let our souls catch up with the many things that happen to us, that teach us, and humble us.
This May has been packed with realizations and many things to be grateful for and lessons to apply. May God give us the grace to to live well and responsibly in the next month and always.
How about you, friend? What are your thoughts too about your purpose, perseverance, and relationships? Hoping we can talk about it more. Feel free to comment or contact me. I hope you had a meaningful May, and may June be kind to you. 🙂