Bright hues have been a constant fuel in my life and holding workshops for the past years have made me realize that more than the brush strokes and the happy colors *Mostly Teal at the moment*.   Fulfillment also comes from getting to meet workshop participants for the first time and getting to know their stories. (What a thing to say for an introvert who panics when meeting new people!)

In one of our recent workshops, I’ve encountered a grandma (Let’s call her Mommy A.) whose watercolor journey took some decades in the making. She fancied art as a child but never got the chance to pursue it until recently. With her kids having finished school, she decided to finally give in to that childhood dream. There’s this constant scenario among some participants where they become so scared and hesitant to try a certain medium or to draw in general. They always say that they don’t have the talent but at the end of the day they manage to push themselves out of their comfort zones to produce unique and interesting outputs.

These made me realize that more than the workshops giving them an avenue to pursue a hobby or to discover more of their innate creativity, these pupils gave me more in return: a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Also, by helping them get past their self-doubt, I turn to them as my inspiration whenever I have to deal the discouraging voices in my head while in the process of creating something.

Speaking of purpose and giving back, I got to hear a very heartfelt talk the other day by JP Cruz, a Sun Life Financial Advisor. His presentation definitely made me reflect on my life. He shared about his life’s struggles and being able to rise back up. But more than personal or career success, his drive comes from the knowledge that he has lent a hand to others from mentoring his team to providing for his family. He even cites that the nicest feeling he gets from his work is when he sees his wife smile or he hears a “Thank you” from his parents. Suddenly, work for him is not just a routine of selling financial instruments. He finds that helping someone plan for and secure a future for themselves and their loved ones very satisfying. From where I’m seated, it looks like he’s in a cycle of generosity, purpose, fulfillment and giving as a reward in itself.   In his own words, “Money is just the by-product”. *What a revelation!*

Jonathan Yabut, winner of the reality show “Apprentice Asia”, was at the event too.  He shared a lot of insights about success and leadership (and I hurriedly had to take down some notes while trying to sneak in a live sketch at the venue. Hehe.) He also talked about winning The Apprentice not because he was the smartest but because he was the most prepared: he watched all the episodes from all countries as well and also tried answering the questions thrown at the contestants in front of his screen. This is the point where I realized that he won because just like the Olympians, he was preparing to win for a very long time. His grit and tenacity also comes from the fact that growing up, to be able to go to school, he was “financially & academically pressured to succeed”. He can only be first honors in his school so he can get a full scholarship—his only choice back then.

 

He also talked about his dreams of serving the country in the future. He also shared his dreams for the country and what struck me the most is his plan to help Filipinos make a living without having to leave their families behind.

 

This idea dawned upon him when he saw Filipinos gathering in Hong Kong. I share the same sentiments. Whenever I get to talk to Filipinos during my trips abroad, it breaks my heart to find out that they haven’t gone home for more than a decade—most of them have kids. I also grew up with my dad having to work overseas so I’m very familiar with the scenario.

This brings me to today’s realizations: (a) There’s something about generosity. As Seth Godin puts it,
Here’s conventional wisdom: Success makes you happy. Happiness permits you to be generous. In fact, it actually works like this: Generosity makes you happy.   Happy people are more likely to be successful.

and (b) preparation goes a long way. Sometimes these small efforts that seem unsubstantial at first are the ones that set you up for better things. I had this phase when I refused to sketch. I didn’t want to use a pencil because it meant having to draw the same image twice. I didn’t realize that sketching is actually a crucial process that allows you to make mistakes—happy accidents—that help you make your piece evolve. Once I’m done sketching & testing the colors on a draft before creating my final piece, I can just concentrate on the actual painting process without having to worry about my palette or general lay-out.

Now that we’re on the topic of preparation and securing a future for ourselves and our loved ones and ultimately, fulfillment, here’s a shot to #LiveBrighter. Sun Life Financial will be holding “Live Brighter Sessions” in Cebu and Davao in the hopes of inspiring more people to discover their potential. They also want to teach people the power and importance of financial literacy. (I practice this at home too with Riley’s babysitter. I would educate her about savings, investments and alternative sources of income that can help their family). I hope you get to catch one of their insightful sessions.

You may also visit Sunlife’s social channels on Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram for more details. If you’d like to get in the business of helping people too, become a Sun Life advisor. Learn more by visiting bit.ly/sunlifeadvisor.
P.S. After n years of refusing to use the pencil, I did my sketches at the venue then inked & colored them in the next day. 😀 Here’s to planning for our future artworks & life projects. 😀