It’s been almost a year since I resigned from my corporate life. I was once a Real Estate Agent in a premier company in Makati spending half of my day in the office and the other half talking to clients (that is, if we didn’t have to man booths or didn’t have any scheduled open house events or site visits.) Wearing long sleeves and a tie for most of the week and earning hundreds of thousands in a month, one can say that what I had was a dream job. I have already been awarded as one of the most promising property specialists… And yet, I resigned.
Some people asked for my reasons and I just told them reasons that at that time, I thought they wanted to hear like– I need to prioritize some things, I might transfer to another brand, I need to, I need to, and a lot of other need to’s.
Without a definite plan for myself and for my career and with barely a few thousands of pesos in my savings just enough to last me a few months without any work, I decided to go my own way. Some people saw me as weak or a failure. And for some time I believed in them. The truth is- I was lost. I was in pain. I was suffering from a setback.
Assessing and comparing myself to my batch mates, God knows how far they’ve reached to conquer their dreams and fulfill their goals. And as for me, I was no one. I was a person who occupied space but didn’t have mass; I was invisible.
For months I stayed in my room. My family lives in the States so no one bothered to wake me up or push me to look for work. I was a total mess. I didn’t have a plan for everyday and my planner was left empty…just full of doodles.
Some friends became concerned. Others would just hit that ‘like’ button in Facebook whenever I posted a self-pitying quote, but wouldn’t dare to ask what I was really going through. I realized I was being bitter; seeing other people’s success and happiness made me sick. There was even a time when I didn’t want to read posts on my Facebook and Twitter walls because all I saw were pictures of their new gadgets, new car, new hairstyle, new selfie.
One morning, I woke up without food in my fridge and with only a few pesos in my wallet. I called my mom to ask for help. Imagine a 27 year old still dependent on his mom. It sucked but it was the reality- I was broke. Days, weeks and months passed and the cycle went on. There was a time when I just spent some hours in church, crying and asking for His divine intervention to help me and make me realize my worth and purpose. God is so good, He made me realize that I was being unfair. Unfair to Him, to myself and to my family especially to my mom.
I told myself that I couldn’t be the way I was forever. I can’t just stay in my room and watch the world change. The world will continue to turn even without me. I started to ask myself what I really wanted and decided to start from there. And yes, I started again– from scratch.
My thought catcher- a mini notebook- became full of ideas, plans and dreams. I listed each in detail. I even included my positive and negative traits that could either help and hinder me. Slowly, my list grew. But it wasn’t an overnight process. It was not like I realized something one day and the next day I achieved what I wanted to. It was a long, tiring and patience-consuming process.
Let me share with you the things I personally learned and realized throughout this process:
1. Embrace setbacks. Learn to step back if you feel you need to. It won’t make you any less of a person, in fact it’ll help you become a real person.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others- doing so will just make you feel low and more miserable. Each person is unique. We all have our own battles and there’s no definite or a one-size-fits-all kind of formula for success. Focus on your own formula.
3. Money isn’t everything. It’s just a vessel for you to acquire the things that you want for yourself. Having lots of money doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be happy. Believe me, I’ve experienced receiving paychecks worth P150k and even more- but that mean I had the life I wanted. I became happy, but that was the kind of happiness that was short term. Aim for genuine and sincere happiness, the kind of happiness that money can’t really buy.
4. Make the most out of the time when you’re experiencing setbacks. Use this time to engage with your core or to even strengthen your faith.
5. Make sure that you’ll rise victorious and a much much better person after all the difficult times of your life.
As of the moment, blogging consumes most of my time and I’m happy doing it. I am able to go and conquer places, create new friends, and capture memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a hobby that I don’t think I would’ve realized I loved if I wasn’t able to experience all the setbacks.
I might not have a car, a house and lot, much money or any material things in life yet I consider myself successful- because success, though it might sound as a cliche, is not a destination but a journey. Setbacks, especially if it’s rooted deep within you, is one of the most difficult battles to win but I’m proud that I was able to overcome different setbacks I’ve encountered in the past. That makes me successful. I’m sure there are more setbacks to come but I’m not afraid because I became a better person with a more mature outlook in life.
Lastly, we shouldn’t see setbacks as something that could hinder our growth. Sure, it could slow us down for a while and might even lead us to a different direction. But one thing’s for sure– at the end of it all, you’ll come out as a far more better person than you ever were.