Taking Your Career To The Next Level

Milwida Guevara believes the children are the future. As CEO of Synergeia, an NGO that partners with LGUs and the private sector to provide teacher-training and upgrade primary and secondary education in the grassroots, she has personally inspected rural communities throughout the archipelago -- and her noble advocacy earned her the highly prestigious Haydee Yorac Award for 2008.

Your title is not you. The test of your competence is your actual performance within and beyond the framework of your official position. Here are seven ways to sharpen your professionalism, based on the insights of fast-rising motivation guru Joel Osteen.

1) See the big picture. Success and stability comes with overlooking trivia and focusing on the things that matter to your life.

Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder is solid rock star because his vision is clearly defined: to “survive and play music and put out records and play live shows, and live our lives as family members, community members and friends,” as he told Newsweek while promoting their 8th CD Pearl Jam in 2007. Fame can be toxic. “Me? I ran screaming the other way.”

2) Believe in yourself. Unconquerable self-esteem is about knowing that your worth as a person is measured only by your character.

Grace Padaca was the unlikeliest challenger to the 40-year reign of a political dynasty in Isabela: she had no name, no money, no machinery, no connections, no experience – plus she has polio. She was unfazed because she believes in herself and for what she stands for, and her victory as Governor in 2004 has become a watershed event in Philippine politics. Now on her second term, she has just been honored the 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service.

3) Understand the power of words. Your words of encouragement is a blessing to both you and your listeners, but you don’t have to filibuster.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama knows the healing power of words. One of the 2005 Time 100, he possesses that “exceedingly rare ability to touch deeply people of all religions, races and backgrounds,” writes Richard Gere, Hollywood actor and an advocate for Tibet for over 25 years. “No one leaves his presence without feeling uplifted and more hopeful about the possibility of a better world.”

4) Let go of yesterday. The past is gone and the future is yet to come; but the present, if you choose to, can be yours.

Jose Ramos Horta’s struggle for a sovereign East Timor fueled his global campaign and earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. His dream came true in 2002; and in 2007, he became the second President of Timor Leste. For his first state visit a month later, he went to his former enemy, Indonesia, to heal old wounds and move on from the brutal past.

5) Be strong in crises. Everything happens for the best, and the agonies you went through made you stronger and more mature, whether you acknowledge it of not.

Cory Aquino is the perfect exemplar of grace under adversity. The former President faced her husband’s imprisonment and assassination, dictatorship, a rigged snap-election, a bankrupt economy, an assassination attempt at the PMA in 1987, seven major coup attempts, the biggest leftist surge in history, and colon cancer, to name a few, – and she has triumphed against them all.

6) Help others. Acts of service to your fellowmen, especially when you’re not expecting payment nor publicity – not to mention gratitude – are your guideposts towards a life of substance.

Bill Gates’ state-of-the-art brainpower and cutting-edge standards of efficiency changed the world twice via Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and the richest man in the world has now become the biggest philanthropist in history. “There is no better return on investment than saving the live of a newborn,” his wife Melinda told Time in the issue where she and Bill – and rock god Bono of U2 -- were hailed as the 2005 Persons of the Year.

7) Strive to be happy. Happiness is choice, a state of being we can experience only if we let ourselves be.

Marian Pearl’s husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was kidnapped and murdered by Islamic militants in Pakistan in 2002, but she refused to give in to fear and hatred. “The only way to fight terrorists, as a citizen, is to deny them those emotions,” she told Newsweek as her memoir A Might Heart was being filmed starring Angelina Jolie. “The one thing they’re not expecting is my happiness. That’s true revenge; and when I see [her son] Adam, and I see how happy he is, I think, ‘I’m winning.’ ”

Milwida Guevara photo courtesy of NewsFlash.org. This story originally appeared in CareerGuide, The Philippine Star

You comments and blog links are welcome.

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