Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spa and Wellness, Massage Therapy, Business and Entrepreneurship Meetup (Lessons and After-thoughts)

Manila, Philippines Meetup Groups:
Business and Entrepreneurship
Spa and Wellness
Massage Therapy
Lessons from Feb 05, 2011 event

There were so many things that I learned from the last Meetup of Business people and Entrepreneurs (or should I say Inno-preneurs) and professionals that belong to the Spa and Wellness as well as the Massage Therapy industry event held last February 05, 2011. I bet the attendees can enumerate more and I will highlight a few of them here. I will start with the lessons I learned from each speaker or segment of the event.

1. I learned from Hadjii Crespo that it doesn’t take so much time to untie the knots from stress points in our body (like the shoulders and lower back) we only need at least 15-30 minutes of trigger point release to de-stress our muscles. He demonstrated and has even given free samplers of the method to attendees. This is relieving because sometimes even if you want to spend “spa-mpering time” the whole day- you just can’t take the time off. In between our hectic schedule, we should. We really should. That is one thing that practitioners are guilty of. We always tend to take care of others without taking care of ourselves. Remember we cannot give what we don’t have, taking care of ourselves is one way we enrich our lives. Having known Hadjii through my good friend, Rommel Martinez, I have learned that it takes friendships also to do business together. There must be mutual acceptance and cooperation. You cannot do business with someone you dislike. That is one reason why both have stayed friends and became business partners. It has also been more than a year since I have known Hadjii and I am grateful because he was introduced to me. It’s a good thing that Hadjii shared with us the method he developed. It means he trusts the Meetup group with the knowledge that he shared with us. That we will all use it for the benefit of others and the massage community. Thanks Hadjii for sharing! I agree!

2. Engr. Rolando Alagde’s lecture and videos were stimulating to our thoughts. It is touching to know that our fellow “inno-preneur” even took the half day off away from his class (nag absent si sir Rollie sa AIM) because he wants to share his knowledge and wisdom with the crowd. Without anything in return- but our prayers and gratitude. We are so blessed to have a great and giving friend like Sir Rollie. There will come a time when we can get more and more sponsors so we can provide more than “love gifts” to high-caliber lecturers like Rngr. Rollie. In the area of business and entrepreneurship, I learned that we should be having fun as well. If we are not having fun-- sooner or later we will burn out and stop what we are doing. It doesn’t matter if its work, studies, business and whatever we do- we should have fun and get excited every time, otherwise the fruits of our labor will be of no use. Actually with some of what he said, he already sold what the Biz Wiz group is about to do. As with anything, everything should be a balance between sustainability in business economics and having the passion for what you do. Sometimes, I would ask myself of people I hear who can’t wait to retire, “why do you want to retire if you love what you are doing?” Look at one of the video he shared with us below:

In the video above, 66% took the stairs even if its more difficult to do, this is what I mean by “simple fun with a simple choir”, if we were to analyze, of course it doesn’t make sense to take the stairs if you could take the escalator- BUT- if we could make any difficult choir and turn it to a more fun experience- then you have a market.

Reflecting more about it in our everyday lives, the fun theory seems to show that humans are deletion creatures. We delete almost everything that we do not consider important or vital at one specific point. Why? because our brain cannot focus on so many things at one particular time. If we delete the difficulty of walking the stairs and instead replace it by an activity that would complement the difficulty and by making it fun to do then we have deleted the difficult part and replaced it with the fun part. If we tend to gear our attitude toward what brings us feelings of being happy, content, excited and passionate about life, then that is what we will find. It’s easy as walking the stairs!

To take this a little further, when you are having fun with your profession, with your work, with your life- it’s easier to get up it the morning, it’s easier to smile, it’s easier to give, it’s easier to close a sale, it’s easier to make friends, it’s easier to make sales and its easier to close a deal and its easier to make money. On the other hand, it’s hard for people to make you angry, unhappy or upset. So when you see someone who is always upset, angry or easy to get in an angry mood- expect that the person needs some understanding, expect that that person is in a state of either boredom or burn out- so we have to be more understanding, we have to be more forgiving of each other’s states of mind. Life is short we should not sweat the small stuff but enjoy!

3. On Ms. Angel Laparan’s lecture, she told us that it’s even harder today to deploy nurses but the deployment of spa and workers in the massage/spa industry is still on-going. Most of the time, one does not even need to be licensed or certified because it all depends on the employer. Of course, certifications do help a lot especially if the employers choose to work with only those who have had medical related backgrounds- but not all the time. I also shared that in my experience, certifications and licenses help only if you are targeting management and executive positions. She has also told the audience a lot about my experience working as a spa manager and spa director in EU. I think there are a lot of opportunities only if we know where to look and whom to get in touch with. I myself, have to turn down a lot of offers abroad because of inconsistencies and restrictive employment contracts. Although the spa, massage therapy and wellness industry has lots of “gray areas” as a profession, we are slowly gaining our ground towards a more collaborative and professional world. One of the things she also touched on was about how one should prepare for a job overseas interview and how important it is for applicants to be able to express them selves in spoken English. Prospective applicants should not be high-nosed and realize earlier on to accept working with a multi-cultural staff. I believe that there should be unity in diversity. I will give you one secret that employers look for. Most of the time, when I sit down with an employer and they would hire me to interview their applicants, it doesn’t hurt to look at the credentials but…the big but is we give more priority to the attitude and character of a person rather than the accomplishments, the experience and the credentials. I would always choose someone who is likeable, able to learn and be taught rather than someone who thinks they know it all. As a consultant, each and every time that the employers and I are faced with the dilemma of selecting only one from a lot of applicants and those who passed the interviews, we would always choose someone whom we see is likeable and a team-player. In very far flung countries, we would always choose someone who works with the team NOT against the team. I sit down with employers, deliberate who among the candidates are fit for the post and the true consensus is- they do not need credentials if you have a bad attitude. Period.

4. What I learned from the Biz Wiz group: I have already discussed this in my previous blog last year in November. Why do you think I invited them over if I was not impressed? But even before Biz Wiz was ever Biz Wiz – I already knew Jason Estimado who was a part of Meetup since 2007. He attends and even lectures about anti-aging and beauty. Here is the link to this blog post that I have written.


5. General lessons: First, I learned from the brilliant Seth Godin that Autarky is dead. As he pointed out in one of his latest blog posts, “Self sufficiency appears to be a worthy goal, but it's now impossible if you want to actually get anything done. All our productivity, leverage and insight come from being part of a community, not apart from it. The goal, I think, is to figure out how to become more dependent with each other, not less.” And what does it have to do with Meetup? We are all dependent on each other. The sponsors, the attendees- and the organizers are crucial to the event, we wouldn’t have made each event better than the other without the help of the sponsors and the participants. Thanks also to the generosity of James who traveled all the way from Subic to Ortigas, who gave a sample of skin white and beauty products he sells and to Ed Rivera who is into native and local accessories like bags and home furnishings. With every Meetup we also get to know everyone's business so if we need something or a particular service or product, we know whom to get in touch with. Thank you for depending on Meetup and thanks to all those who traveled far just to meet us and for everyone who shared their time and prioritized Meetup. I might not be able to write all your names here in this blog post but - my prayers are all with you. Thank you for the openness, time and friendship.

6. “Familiarity breeds respect” as the brilliant Seth Godin wrote in one of his latest blogs, Over the six year period, I have been friends with hundreds of great and gifted souls. I also think that one of the big reasons why Meetup has been successful and strong when it comes to relationships since its inception more than 6 years ago, is that people at Meetup serve each other. As Bo Sanchez points out, “If you find a great organization that has not found a way to serve each other (sad but true) that organization will experience divisions because everyone will be looking at his or her personal agenda and interests”. It is in our good fortune that we tend to repel those types of people because Meetup was not designed for that. Everything and everyone must serve a good purpose with each own talents, uniqueness and capability to complement each other. Meetup doesn’t look at itself as just an organization but a support system that doesn’t worry about protocol. We hope to fill the need for identity, connection and relationships. It was and will never be about “what’s in it for our personal agenda but what’s in it for us to give to others”. Kaya pag lumabas ka ng Meetup na parang ubas, pag uwi mo hawaan mo ng pagiging ubas ang mga pasas. Kung malaki naman silang tao- maaaring prunes na yun. To my English readers, if you ever walk out of a Meetup looking like grapes then when you get home, you have to induce the excitement of being a grape to others who are already dried like raisins and if they are tall, then they are like prunes which you have to water. (wink) In other words, we all need each other, the success of one is the success of the whole- and the failure of one is the failure of all. We should find a way to enrich that relationship- and never to destroy it. Over time, as Seth writes, “you don't just come to trust valued colleagues like these, they also earn respect. Once you understand someone's sensibilities and goals, it's natural to see the world through their eyes and to embrace their motives and tactics. Once you've seen their work under pressure and in quieter moments, you get a sense for what they believe in. In a world of quick projects and short engagements, this sort of relationship is priceless”. I am blessed because I have found such people at Meetup.

7. Focus- as said earlier, we are deletion creatures, we should focus- focus on what? Focus more on what is good, better or best on a person, expect the best with a person, we should focus what makes us feel beautiful inside and out, focus on larger than life experiences, focus on the better things in life rather than those experience which has brought us pain, hurt or disgust. In Shakespeare’s “the Merchant of Venice”, there was a man named Shylock who was very wise but he was cruel. He said, “would you allow the same serpent to sting you twice?” Of course, we should never allow the same serpent to sting us twice. But we should never become cynical. Hindi komo may gumawa sa atin ng mali, pagdidiskitahan din natin ang lahat ng maaring gumawa din ng mali. You do not sink the ship to kill the rats. Learn to trust people. Actually, in life, very few people will hurt us or cause us pain, most are still basically kind. But people who don’t trust and don’t open themselves to other people’s goodness and kindness put walls between them and the world. They in turn imprison themselves in the process. Hindi komo may isang taong nandaya at nanakit sa atin ay lahat na ng tao ay ganun. Learn to trust again. Live life again, love again, give again- although a bit wiser the second time around. Tandaan lang natin na ang isang tao na sobrang wise ay hindi nag e-enjoy sa buhay. One way to enjoy life is to open our self up to people and focus on the better part of life rather than our previous hurts.

8. Energy- is infectious. Need I say more? We have forgotten a lot of things to give and say before our time was up just because we were all “hyped-up”. Hopefully, it will give a good vibes and ripple of effect to our beloved “Meetup-ers”. Thanks and God bless you more! Until next Business / Entrepreneurship, Spa and Wellness and Massage Therapy Meetup! Hats off to all of you!