I wrote about happy adventures and things I’ve learned so far, mostly from the guidance of WIM’s founder, Vince Golangco–and a portion of what I wrote was published in this month’s issue of Chalk Magazine.

Chalk November

I still remember when my peers and I were choosing what courses to take up in college. Some of the most recurring questions were, “What do you want to do?” and “What’s your dream job?”

These are nerve-racking questions to ask someone whose decisions were mostly limited to what the adults approved of. Suddenly, my classmates and I were expected to decide what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives.

I was and I am still scared of a routine desk job. Just the thought of an office cubicle makes me feel nauseous. Since I couldn’t think of a specific title for it, I came up with a description of what my future work should be: something that exposes me to people and places; something that makes me feel alive; something scary but exciting, unpredictable, and absolutely fulfilling.

All those requirements for my dream job were met when I started writing for WhenInManila.com, an online magazine in the Philippines that gets over 4,000,000+ views per month. More than being an online magazine, it is a big community made up of more than 300 writers, photographers, contributors, and active followers who gamely share their thoughts on stories that we publish online. We have a very active community of over 835,000+ Fans on Facebook.com/WhenInManila that reaches over 40 million people per week.

It is truly amazing to be part of something this huge. It has been a year since my first article was published, and I still get that giddy feeling whenever I start working on a new article. Beyond the fulfillment and the opportunities, I am most grateful for the people I meet and learn from—especially Vince Golangco.

Vince is the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of WhenInManila.com. He is a strategic businessman, a witty writer, a television and events host, a motivational speaker, and so much more. His list of credentials and work experiences is just way too long to mention. But the title I associate with him the most is a ‘mentor.’

One could learn so much from him by checking out his blog or his social media accounts, attending his talks, or simply by observing his works online. But because he is an intentional mentor who is always willing to pay it forward, I can no longer count how many invaluable lessons I have learned from him. To enumerate a few, these are five of the most valuable things I learned from Vince Golangco.

1.)   Just do it.

Much of life’s successes are made of trial and error. WhenInManila.com has taken many forms since its establishment in 2009. Some things remain consistent, even though the topics covered are varied. Every article aims to be relevant to its readers. Being relevant means adapting to the changing times and the changing needs of people, so it is not wise to overplan, overthink, and overanalyze.

There were many projects I meticulously planned but never started. The first lesson I learned from Vince is to ‘just do it.’ I will fail, but I will learn, improve, and enjoy as I go along. “It’s not Ready, aim, fire,” Vince said,It’s ready, fire, aim.” From him and from WhenInManila.com’s success, I realized that I should not be paralyzed with the smallest details and the pettiest concerns. The most important step (and sometimes the most difficult) is just getting started.

2.)   Do what you are passionate about.

‘Just do it’ could be rephrased as ‘Just do what you are passionate about.’ If there is anything worse than staying stagnant, it is progressing towards a goal you do not sincerely love and believe in.

To the best of their interests, some “practical” adults warned me about the course I chose and the practicality of my dream job. One of them said, “Choose a course and a job that would sustain your dream lifestyle. After some time, you will be able to afford the things that will make you happy.”

I almost believed that lie halfway through college. But Vince is the perfect living proof to disprove this. There was a time I was considering other “practical” career options. Through Vince’s guidance and mentorship, I took on a bigger role in WhenInManila.com. That opportunity in itself was more than good enough already, but it opened so many doors for me as well.

This was when I realized that if you continue doing what you are passionate about—with no turning back even when it gets scary and uncertain—golden opportunities will surely follow.

Whenever someone still doubts the existence of that dream job, all I have to do now is to send them a link to Vince’s profile.

3.)   You are whom you see yourself as.

Delicadeza is not the easiest thing to find—especially online. This is where we meet self-proclaimed ninjas, gurus, experts, and #1 this and that. Some people can get really pretentious, and with the right tools and connections, it is so easy to package oneself as someone he is not.

I do not want to be like that—but it is not healthy to downplay who you really are and what you can offer to others. I learned that downplaying your skills offers a false sense of humility, and it really won’t get you anywhere. After all, if you have a product or service, you are the first person who should get it out there.

Vince strikes the right balance between having delicadeza and in showing what he and WhenInManila.com can offer, at the same time making sure all these claims are backed up by facts and figures—not mere self-proclaimed titles. He does not have to, but he even goes as far as taking screenshots of the website’s stats!

I’m no longer coy to put my credentials in my bio or my LinkedIn account, because I now understand that doing so doesn’t constitute pride. At the same time, I don’t downplay my roles or my credentials—because I now understand that doing so does not constitute humility—that’s just called fishing for compliments—like someone who posts a selfie and captioning it, “Im so fat and ugly.”

4.)   Collaboration will get you farther than competition.

WhenInManila.com is not the only online magazine in the Philippines. Before joining it, I used to think that all the other online magazines were highly competitive with each other. That’s why it surprised me to see Vince and those from other websites speaking at each other’s events, exchanging ideas, organizing events together, and even recommending each other.

This was when I realized that having a competitive mindset also means having limited goals—like being the best website in the Philippines. That is a good goal, but it is not grand. A collaborative mindset would mean working together to bring the blogging industry of the Philippines to a whole new level, or collaborating to forward a cause or an advocacy. Being the social media capital of the world, there is more than enough space online! There are bigger dreams to dream, dreams that could only be accomplished together.

5.)   Don’t just work hard—work smart.

I was so used to hearing ‘work hard’ with all its possible versions. The first time I heard about working smarter was when Vince wrote about it. “Spending time to plan things out and coordinate on a larger scale, while looking at the bigger picture, is what a leader needs to do,” he wrote.

Vince has these practical lifehacks that make me wish I had known them sooner—it would have saved me so much time and money! For example, whenever I got stuck in traffic, the only solution I did was to reroute and look for a quicker way to get somewhere. But knowing the Metro Manila traffic, a quicker way to get somewhere is not really quick enough. I still had to wait it out and grit my teeth.

I found out Vince listens to audiobooks in the car, and now that I do that too, I only wish I had done it sooner. There were times I felt bad for not reading books as much as I want to, and listening to audiobooks in the car was the perfect solution to the “not having enough time” excuse. I now enjoy these long drives so much (even traffic jams), that when I get to the good part of a book, there are times I want to stay longer in the car.

Whenever I had several appointments scattered throughout the week, I was usually bothered by the travel time and the gas expenses. I found out that Vince strategically sets a “meeting day.” Whenever possible, the meetings he has for the week are all scheduled on the same day, all around the vicinity. This saves up on gas expenses, travel time, and overall, it really is much more efficient.

Up to the smallest details like the settings in Gmail, Vince has already tinkered with his emails and maximizes their functionality. I never knew all those things until he mentioned them.

From Vince, I learned that you could and you should come up with a system that works the best for you. It’s not enough to blindly rush into a goal—work harder and work smarter.

Even in college, people still ask each other, “What do you want to do?” and “What’s your dream job?” When I was starting out as a contributor for WhenInManila.com, I said, “something like what Vince Golangco does.” But as a testament to Vince being the good mentor that he is, I realized that my dream job is the one I already have now. And when I ask myself what I want to do, I realize I’m already doing it now.

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