A String of Scribbles on Service

 

“Strive for excellence because we are serving the God of excellence.”

These words reverberated in my longing ears as I was seated one afternoon. A man was speaking in front. His name, Ed Villacorte.

I wrote in my notes: It’s freeing. It’s God’s.

I thought so…

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I seemed to have scribbled a lot of words – words I heard from him, words I heard from my thoughts, words I heard from the Lord in my heart… Words of truth. I believe.

So what I’m about to write are strings of words from wherever that I find so meaningful. And I don’t take authorship of which nor attribute it solely to Bro. Ed but to the collective intelligence that God has endowed on us human beings by Him… who He called to lead. And serve like Christ.

Such a high call. I concur.

Leadership is about surrendering to God’s will. It is about humility! Apparently, the strongest leader possesses the strongest humility.

How then can we become humble? To become humble is to become like Christ.

How then can we become like Christ? We are to understand the principles of servanthood. He said.

And he spells it out –

True servanthood is determined by what you have become not what you have done.

That is to lead like Christ. Wow! How difficult that can be? Perhaps. But we are called still…

After all, serving God is a matter of GRATITUDE not worthiness. Service is simply extending God’s goodness. It is not ours. It is His.

So he declares: True service is a joyful occasion to celebrate the goodness of the Lord. And praise defines the tongue of a servant who approaches the Lord of the service.

 

And he says –

Do not pursue any ambition aside from God’s. And it is explained: Pride creeps when motives are not aligned with God’s.

In serving, you are to seek God’s attention more than people’s admiration. What matters is what God says. Because every service or ministry or task or business or anything that you do is an opportunity to build ‘altars’ of God.

Therefore, you and I have to develop the right attitudes in the ministry and all the things that we do. And remember, humility is key.

In humility, we become servants of all.

And you’ve got to hear this: Humility is the door to all virtues.

How’s that? Let’s take a look at humility first.

At this point, we have to see and understand gratitude. Gratitude is an important element of humility. You have to remember that no one can become humble without being grateful. So is it right to say that gratefulness leads to humility? I think so. And it goes the other way, I guess, too: That with humility comes gratefulness. Like two elements looped into one.

 

How do we respond to this high call of service and leadership? He said: Surrender your interests to God so that you won’t worry about it.

He continued, “In the service of the Lord, our reputation has no worth.” I still don’t get it entirely but I think I get it.

I continued to listen:

“Always have the good of others in the heart.

A good heart put others first.”

Then he revealed a beautiful truth from the Letter of Paul to the Galatians (5:22-23) –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

The fruit is LOVE.

And we are all called to serve all.

A very high call, indeed! How can that be doable by a human like me?

For some reason, I wrote somewhere… which I heard from him: Faith is being sure of what you don’t see.

Oh yes! So have faith.

Remember, God is with you. Do it. And you will have joy! For joy marks the true servant of God.

He said somewhere: If we accept this truth, then as servants we become part of the goodness of God to others.

And yes, as always has been and as it is, the essence is love. And it belongs to Him.

You cannot own it.

Offer it!

Serve!

Love!

 

Live your life, young mind!

Chris Dao-anis

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Put People Over Projects

Are you putting projects over people? Please reconsider.

While it is important to plan, to look into projects, programs and processes, it is people who make them work. It is people who bring success. Thus, people should be put first over projects.

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The mistake that organizations make is when they put projects over people. The purpose was forgotten. Projects should serve people not people serving the projects. Projects are made for people. It is for the people and its achievement is made by the people.

How about the processes that are put into place to propel the projects and programs?

When I was working as an accountant, I was involved with various process improvement initiatives. I have seen the need to keep on improving the processes and procedures that companies have in delivering products and services. Through time, processes become obsolete. What was effective and efficient two years ago may not already be functioning as such at the present. It may be effective still at a certain point but no longer efficient. Hence, there should be continuous improvement otherwise the company or organization will be left behind.

However, there would be a great problem if there is so much emphasis on processes and projects that the  people element is forgotten. No matter how you improve processes if the people are not improving, the supposedly wonderful process will be useless. While process improvement is important, people improvement is essential.

This goes back to getting the right people, putting them in the right jobs, and equipping them continuously as appropriate.

I am not saying that we have to choose people over projects. It doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. But if you are to look into your prioritization matrix, people should be above projects. Put people over projects, processes and programs.

Yes, examine processes, initiate projects, plan programs, deploy new systems, invest in these changes – but before anything else, invest in your people. Invest in their training. Invest in their development. It is they who will make things happen.

If you think the people you have right now are not worth investing, then maybe you are attracting or getting the wrong people.

So, get clear with your values, goals and visions and bring in the right people. Ask them and give them the right seats. Tool them as appropriate. Invest in them. And treat them right.

When you take care of them, the projects, processes and programs will be taken care of by them.

Live your life, young mind!

Chris Dao-anis

(Chris Dao-anis gives talks, trainings and seminars on communication, public speaking and leadership. For inquiries/invitations, email him at chrisdaoanis@gmail.com or drop your message at www.chrispoweracademy.com/bookchris.  His latest book ‘Living Large in the Little Things’ is available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road and at Psalms Bookstore (Sunshine Supermart, beside Hotel Veniz) – Baguio City. For more info, visit www.chrispoweracademy.com/livinglarge.)

Your Feedback Can (and Should) Be Fruitful

Every day, we receive feedback – formally and informally. They can be destructive or beneficial. They can be harmful or fruitful. I am thankful that people around me are so kind. They have been giving me fruitful feedbacks that helped me push forward in my journey in life.

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Father Very Good

I remember Fr. Elpidio Silug, our parish priest when I was leading the youth group in our school. Every time he sees something that is done well, he would say, “Very good!”

When he asks you a question and you respond and say something commendable, he would say, “Very good!” When he heard that I was the first honor in my class, he said, “Very good!”

Sometimes I think that when he heard that I won’t be entering the seminary then, he smiled sadly and said, “Very good.” 🙂

He is otherwise known as Father Very Good! His words were like fuel that kept the fire burning in my heart to keep on doing what I was doing – and even level it up for the better.

Father Alright

I also remember Fr. Rolly Buyagan, our parish priest when I was in high school. I had a lot of conversations with him. One of those was when he handed me the letter from the seminary congratulating me that I passed their entrance examination. I was happy of that news but I stepped into his office to tell him that I won’t be entering the seminary.

He listened to my explanation and replied, “Alright”. (He was previously known as Father Alright!) After that, he gave me his feedback. I don’t remember his exact words but it came across as this, “You are a good student. Keep pursuing your dreams. Even if you will not pursue priesthood, He will be with you. May God guide you whichever path you want to pursue.”

The Admission Officer (The Auditing Master)

Let me give you another name: Darrel Joe Asuncion, my auditing instructor in college. I was performing well in other accounting subjects except in his class. My performance in auditing was just okay (read, mediocre 🙂 ).

But our first encounter was when I was asking for admission into the College of Accountancy, shifting from my previous course (which I liked and enjoyed) AB Political Science. As the designated admission officer then, he looked thoroughly over my grade slip from the previous term. After a few seconds, he suddenly wore a smile on his face and said, “Tama lang na nandito ka. Magaling ka!” (It’s just right that you are here. You are intelligent!)

While my previous course is challenging, this course is also perplexing in its own unique way. Simply looking at the several subjects and the passing rate of the CPA Board Examination makes you feel intensely challenged. But thanks for his initial feedback, the affirmation he gave. I enrolled in BS Accountancy and got excited in my new journey.

Professor Dong

One last name in this article: Candido Perez, my first accounting instructor. Some didn’t like his method but I am thankful of him because from his method, I was trained to read several chapters of my accounting book and be ready in class the next day.

One of the things, I can’t forget was when he said, “Chris, here’s your grade for Fundamentals of Accounting. You did great! I can see a potential in you. You have a great potential. I’m not saying ‘excellent’ but you have that potential.”

Wow! After hearing those words, I felt so empowered. I exerted more effort in my studies. So I continued my schooling with more drive. I moved forward, graduated on time, and became a Certified Public Accountant.

There Were More

There were other priests and professors who have helped me in the process. They taught me, guided me and challenged me to achieve my goals. They gave specific and positive feedback. They are numerous to share in this page. But one thing is for sure, they all gave fruitful feedback that nourished my young mind and inspired my young heart to reach my aspirations.

Feedback is precious – provided it is a feedback that is aimed to give results. These are what I call fruitful feedbacks. I am thankful for those. I am thankful for those people who gave me and continue to give me those fruitful feedbacks.

In one of my seminars, I unpack how to give a fruitful feedback. I can’t share it with you today. But here’s my question for you: Are you receiving fruitful feedbacks? And are you giving fruitful feedbacks?

Live your life, young mind!

Chris Dao-anis

(Chris Dao-anis aims to empower his fellow young minds with practical instruction and inspiration in the fields of communication and personal leadership. He authored three books to date: The Gift of the Ordinary, 7 Keys to Achieve Your Aspirations, and Living Large in the Little Things. For talks, seminars and speech coaching, email him at chrisdaoanis@gmail.com. You can order his latest book at a specially discounted price at www.chrispoweracademy.com/livinglarge. The Living Large book is also available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City and at Psalms Bookstore, Sunshine, Baguio City.)

Love, Music and Bravery

A year ago, in Toastmasters, I was called to speak and I was introduced like this, “Please welcome our speaker, the Past VP PR, the Past President, and the Present Area 76 Governor…”

Yes! They talk about your past and your present.

Imagine if they are to include your love life in your intro. It would be something like this, “Please welcome our speaker, the past boyfriend of Ana, past boyfriend of Lorna, and the present boyfriend of Angela…”

Imagine how very awkward that would be.

I am lucky because I don’t have any concern just in case we have to include our love life in the speaker’s introduction. I don’t have a lot to tell about my love life. Most of them are just imaginary! 😀

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But today, I’d like to talk about love, music and bravery.

Love and music has lots of similarities.

In music, if you can’t sing the high key, you can transpose it to a lower key. In other words, just change it! In love, if you can’t get that beautiful girl, change it! You can change your strategy, change your approach, or better yet – change it to an imaginary girl! 😀

If the key is high and you can’t sing it, just change it. If your high standards in love cannot be met — NO, don’t change it to lower standards. If you do, don’t ever say I told you so. Because I never did.

Remember that it is better to have an imaginary girlfriend than to have the wrong girlfriend!

You see, there was this farmer who went to see a lawyer. He thought of getting rid of his wife, either through legal separation or annulment.

Even before sitting down in the lawyer’s office, the man started saying, “I need to file a case against my wife!”

“Do you have any ground?” the lawyer asked.

“Of course, I have a ground. I own 10 hectares of ground.”

“No, what I mean is: Do you have a case?”

“Of course, I have a case. It’s where I keep all the titles of my farmland.”

“No, what I mean is: Do you have a suit?”

“Oh yes, that’s what I wear to church every Sunday.”

“No, what I mean is: What is your grudge?”

“Of course, I have a garage. That’s where I park my tractor.”

“Alright, alright, let me put it this way: Why do you want to separate with your wife?”

“Well, she always complains.”

“Why is that?”

“She always complains about how I answer her questions!”

“There were several times we did not sleep past midnight.”

“Why is that?”

“She keeps on asking questions… She must be charged for damages for causing my sleepless nights. Not to mention that she snores when she sleeps!”

The lawyer stood up and said, “Why not sing for your wife?”

“What? Sing for my wife? Don’t you understand I don’t like her anymore?”

“Oh yes, just sing – Please release me, let me go…”

“Oh, I tried. But a week later, I ended up singing – Please forgive me, I don’t know what I’d do. Please forgive me. I can’t stop loving you…”

 

Oh, love and music…

Music is so powerful. It can be beneficial or destructive.

I have a friend who had no girlfriend since birth. He asked me, “Chris, I need your advice.”

“What’s your problem?”

He said, “I have no girlfriend since birth. I’m not getting any younger. I want to have one.”

I looked at him straight to the eye and said, “My friend, you are asking the wrong guy. I have the same problem!” 😀

He was about to cry so I comforted him. “Well, I actually had some girlfriends. But not the kind of relationship that I have in mind. You see, I am an accountant, and I always consider substance over form.”

Then I turned on my coaching hat and asked him some questions. And in the middle of our conversation, I asked, “What’s your theme song?”

He answered with gusto and started singing, “I’m afraid to love you, I’m afraid of your touch. I’m afraid to love again ‘cause it hurts when love fails.”

I was about to join him sing but I looked at him and said, “My friend, no wonder why! You are singing the wrong songs… How about singing a different set of songs – not about fear and failure but about passion and expression. For example, ‘When a man loves a woman, Can’t keep his mind on nothing else. He’d trade the world for the good thing he’s found.’”

I told him, “You’ve got to believe me. I learned the hard way. There was this song that I have been singing with style before. It’s called ‘Somewhere Down the Road.’ It starts with this line, ‘We have right love at the wrong time…’”

Realization came when I met this beautiful girl. She looks like that Mexican lady on a Hollywood Movie. The magic moment came when she started singing and I was looking at her then she looked at me. There was a spark. The world stopped turning at that very moment. There was magic and I took it from there. We got to know a little bit about each other. I liked her and she liked me.

 

Weeks after, there seems to be something different going on.

There must be something wrong. So I asked her, “My lady, what’s wrong?”

She said, “I’m sorry. It is like we have the right love at the wrong time…”

Man, that songs sounds familiar. It was like a dejavu. That was my song!

I was not told of the Miranda Doctrine in Courtship. Nobody told me: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you sing can and will be used against you in your courtship or love life…”

It even goes on like this, “…You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to your lady. If you cannot afford an attorney, an imaginary one will be appointed for you. If you decide to do so, your imaginary attorney will be present but will only help you in courting an imaginary girl.”

 

Because of that realization, I haven’t been singing for a long time.

I decided to keep silent. But then I later realized, there are times to keep silent but there are also times to sing your heart out. Like when you see a beautiful girl, you can express your appreciation. Just like this, “Oh her eyes, her eyes make the stars look like they’re not shinin’. Her hair, her hair falls perfectly without her trying. She’s so beautiful and I tell her everyday.”

Or, “Imagine me and you, I do. I think about you day and night, it’s only right. To think about the girl you love and hold her tight. So happy together.”

 

Yes, love and music go together.

But somewhere in between, it has to come also with bravery. Bravery and courage are important elements.

A long time ago, there was this rich mayor called baknang in the province. One day, he announced to his townspeople that he will give his daughter to the bravest man in his town. Her daughter is the most beautiful woman that a man could ever have. And yes, she is willing to be the woman of the bravest man.

On the appointed day, all the hopeful men gathered at the municipio. The baknang led them to a river at the foot of the mountain. The river was well-known for hundreds of man-eating crocodiles. When they arrived, the baknang told the men to cross the bridge to the other side.

When all the men were at the other side, curious and excited what will be asked of them to get the baknang’s daughter, the baknang declared, “The first man to swim across the river to this side will have my daughter as his bride.”

The men looked at the river and saw the crocodiles getting ready to swallow anyone. Not a single man moved. The baknang declared again, “The first man to swim across the river to this side will have my daughter as his bride.”

Again, not a single man moved. The baknang asked, “Is there not a brave man in my town?”

Suddenly, a splash was heard. A young man was seen swimming furiously in the water, fighting off the crocodiles, and struggling to make it to the other side. After several close shaves, he finally made it to shore. He was met by a tremendous roaring applause. They helped him out of the water, shook his hands and congratulated him. Immediately, the baknang declared him the bravest man of the town and handed him her daughter.

And then the baknang said, “Young man, you now have my daughter. But before we move back to the municipio for your wedding ceremony, would you like to say something to all the coward men there on the other side?”

“Oh yes, yes, yes!” the young man shouted. “WHO AMONG YOU PUSHED ME??!!!”

The man was not the bravest after all. He was lucky that someone pushed him.

 

In life, however, often times we have to push our own selves.

Nobody else will push us. But when we do, probably we will be able to enjoy the fruits of love, music and bravery.

In time, you will be singing, “That I was born for you and that you were born for me…”

Or, “God gave me you to show me what’s real…”

So change your songs if necessary.

Be brave and swim against the crocodiles of courtship and relationship.

In time, you will win your one and only. The one. By then, you don’t have to chase an imaginary lady (or man, for the ladies) once again.

 

Live your life, young mind!

Chris Dao-anis

 

PS:

Chapter 39 of Chris’ latest book talks about Your Life Partner. Go get a copy of the book Living Large in the Little Things for a special price at www.chrispoweracademy.com/livinglarge.

You are invited to the

If you are in the Cordilleras or anywhere nearby, join us in the FREE Living Large Seminar and Book Launch on September 10, 5:30PM in Baguio City. For details and registration, go to www.chrispoweracademy.com/lls.