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  • Writer's pictureFernando Olivo

The never-ending process of change

Last February, while mentoring a group of University students, I asked them a personal question. None of them knew that I was also asking the same question to myself. The question seemed relatively simple, but it was charged with electrifying love and self-criticism. Little did we envision that the question at hand would bring so much transformation to all of us. None of us was ready for the pandemic nor prepared for the challenges, so... what did you learn about yourself?

I remember the silence in that virtual classroom. That question echoed other questions like: What do I fear? Are my short-term actions aligned with my long-term goals? Are my current choices consistent with the new world scenario? Am I taking on enough challenges? Do the right people surround me? Am I taking care of my mental and physical health? Am I living up to my expectations? Is there enough peace, fun, and love in my life?

The turmoil of all these questions brought a common goal and a common language. We believe that we can become unicorns, and we agreed to take six months to become just that, a group of unicorns... and you all know, a group of unicorns is called a blessing.

I believe that all of us have a set of similar questions. Our goals may differ, but we are all the same in essence. Take the time now to ask yourself these simple but powerful questions and use this post as an excuse to find call-to-action answers for your life. I am committed to sharing with you my top three, so here we go:

  • What do I fear?: This question is the first one if we want to create action. Fear is normal. What isn't normal is when we let fear block our decisions. Sometimes we keep the fears as the main excuse to not change. "What do I fear?" is a way to understand what is keeping us from doing what we need to do. The call to action? Do it! If you are scared, do it even with your fear. A winner is just a loser that tries one more time.

  • Are my short-term actions aligned with my long-term goals?: In all honesty, this was the question where we spent most of our time. To talk about philosophical things is beautiful, but we also need to keep our feet in the group. You will be surprised about how many people lack long-term goals. It seems like the simplest thing, but we need to start by writing down those goals and then checking if our short-term actions really along with what we want to achieve. One of my students is a fan of anime and Japanese culture. He said that his life goal is moving to Japan. When I asked him if he speaks Japanese, he said no. When I asked him if he applied for a job position in Japan, he also said no. When I asked him what is he doing right now to make that plan possible, he said nothing. Instead of taking any actions to make his idea a reality, he hid behind the curtain of a dream that may not come true. The difference between something impossible and something real is the plan we made, and the steps we took to make it happen. The call to action? planning and aligning our actions with our plan. You are the CEO of your enterprise called Living.

  • Are my current choices consistent with the new world scenario?: Some decades ago, Albert Einstein said: "The measure of intelligence is the ability to change." We all know the stories of companies that failed because they did not adapt to change. It is easy to talk about how Nokia, Blackberry, Kodak, and others did not adapt. We are at the end of this pandemic. Did we adapt? Did you prepare yourself and learn the skills needed for the post-pandemic business world? Did I pave my way to success by being flexible and adaptable to this new scenario? At the beginning of the pandemic, my neighbor, a 76 years old veteran, bought his first laptop. The next day he knocked on my door and asked me to teach him how to use the computer. I spent three months going to his place every day for an hour to teach him how to use the laptop and software like Word, Zoom, and Outlook. He also learned about online shopping and paying utility bills online. "It is a new jungle now. I better learn how to survive again." It is easy to get caught in the past with "I was" and "in the old times" instead of rechecking the long-term goals and short-term actions. "Be water, my friend."

I know that my conversation with my students will continue. Mentoring has become one of the greatest pleasures in my life. This top three is our top three, but very much can be yours too. If you feel that it should be different, tell us here. I am, in my heart, a student that learns just to share, and I am learning from all of you.

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