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In my book, Provocateurs, Chapter 8 talks about Envisioning the End you Intend. A foundation I have followed through the years is closing down its operations for good. I got the chance to talk to the current Executive Director about the rationale and the processes they're working leading to this path.
Ending with grace is a purpose-driven response to closures, good byes, and changes. This means a lot for those who were part of the organizational journey from the very start, the founders- Board, Staff, members, grant recipients, and the people on the ground who were touched by the impact funding and breakthrough activities. This means a lot as well to those countless people in the community who were involved in some ways or another to the activities and programs and celebrations of solidarity with the people in the South.
I am quite shocked at first as an outsider to hear this but I salute the courage to truthfully assess their situation. This is a very difficult decision to make and no Board, staff, or members would take this further unless it's considered to be (at that time) the best alternative amongst other options. As a consultant and advisor, I can't get into the minds of the decision-makers but I believe that there is a bundle of rationales that are taken into consideration in such an undertaking. But what happens next is not really much discussed but fortunately, my book looks at many such wondrous things that can take place after closures. Evidence is replete with many spin-offs, small and large that can
I heard from the Executive Director that a bunch of members is meeting informally over coffee. All good things will end eventually but this is an interesting development to watch. We can all learn from this process and be amazed as to what 'reimagining the futures' would be like for this community.
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Remember a time when you walked into a room and you sensed belonged or met a complete stranger and felt that you clicked. You didn't figure out what happened but you knew something happened that made it work.
For some people, they call it a magical moment, a cosmic reaction, or chemistry. But for me, this was a situation of ease where what happened was not a product of your hard work but your non-work.
Lately, these days, they would say, ' trust the process.' You can't trust the process if you don't know what process you're at. So many people are caught up in the hustle of life and business that they forget what actually makes them feel truly alive and well. That goes to show, that much of what we are programmed to do does not mean it's good in the long run.
Today's mantra is 'you can do everything and be somebody' but in reality, we can only do something that we're really good at (to get paid at it) and not more. Based on the latest poll, students these days wanted to be social media influencers and YouTube creators than planning on entering a profession and spending a few years honing their craft. They'd rather be millionaires now (as promised to them by those marketers) than complete degrees, certifications, apprentice work, and more work.
Being at ease is not just being comfortable. It's being comfortable despite the uncertainty and what goes into surrendering with that process. Eventually, it is being yourself and understanding that whatever comes, will come eventually. It is of the belief that your life is full of abundance and not of scarcity and lack. That your life is a not a series of boom and bust but a cycle of renewal and dissolution.
Chance and luck happens to all of us. Adversities happen to everyone. It's up to you to be in the situation of ease even when things are not falling into place.
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I have been in contact with a newcomer friend that just landed a few months ago from India. She needed to get work quickly and would require support for various things. My input to her is to continue the search, get some Canadian experience by volunteering for a few hours a week, and meet people in the community. That's the best way to maintaining a positive attitude while waiting for that breakthrough in the employment search.
People of color only apply for jobs that they meet completely where as men would apply for all jobs that they only meet 65% of the time. You probably heard this data. As well, employers nowadays rely on AI to screen hundreds of applicants for one position and because of that, there would be a slim chance that work experience outside of Canada will be given serious, if not points for consideration.
Hundreds of immigrants land in Canada every year as the country continues to expand its economy with high labor needs. Getting employment in their field of expertise is still the number one issue for immigrant integration. More than 10 years ago, I, too, landed with just one suitcase and a big box. The rest is history as to what happened to me afterwards.
New immigrants have lower self-esteem and will not apply to jobs that they think they're not qualified enough to get shortlisted. They do not have the existing networks that native born and or those who lived here longer would have for which to draw on for various types of information and support. But because of this self-selection, a few of them would end up in jobs that are way better for them in the long run compared with survival jobs that could trap them to a cycle of low wage and high stress situation.
I would suggest to apply anyway until you see traction with a number of interviews for these positions. You'll never know how the hiring manager makes decisions with the selection process. They could be very well looking for a different kind of candidate and throwing yourself into the pool increases your chances. In my case, I bested hundreds of applicants and the only reason I was able to get the job was because I applied, despite the constant self-doubt.
Keep up the positivity and never underestimate your worth. You have come a long way. Now prove to them that you can contribute now and not later.
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With a summer pause on my business and with one part-time on the side, I had a more relaxed pace than ever. One of the best things of doing only one thing is that the mind is emptied out to think in a relax way. There are no distractions, fear, deadlines, and pressures.
The other day I was talking about what you can do that is within your control and what you can't to a group of students worried about their grades and how it will look to their parents, their future plans, etc. Much of their worries are based on fear that everything will go completely wrong. A grade can screw up your life or it may not, actually. The range of your control including how you react to failing to meet your goals or expectations is part of your remit.
Taking control over what goes in to our lives and what we allow versus what we have to rid off to allow for better things to come is our individual exercise. When we refuse to take the drama and politics of others and we ruthlessly carve out our own sense of wellness in our time and activities, we are being on top of our game.
The summer pause is exhilarating and a real time out from the time out. I recommend this to a lot of busy executives who are taking much more than they can possibly digest and enjoy. There are wannabe projects that are failing right before our eyes. It's better to bow out and cut losses because it will not shift in any positive way unless the culture changes.
Turns out, emptying out should be regular.
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After a long wait, harvest time is now upon us. Farmers know that with perseverance and patience, the much-awaited time has come to reap the gains from the yield. This time around, there was plenty of rain during the summer that the crops have matured well and in time. We cannot be overly pleased with the weather cooperating with us.
Harvest time provides us the perspectives that with good inputs come good outcomes. It may take a while for our dreams to become real in our lives but everyday is an opportunity to sow the seeds. If you want peace and calm, sow the seeds of cooperation and collaboration and build up one another. If you want a life that is interesting and adventurous, sow the seeds of creativity and follow your passions that fuel those pursuits. If you want a life of global impact that helps others succeed, sow the seed of being a positive provocateur. If you want a life filled with gratitude, start building your gratitude bank and always count your blessings. If you want to live a simple life, define your own success and make your own metrics. Your happiness is your own.
The law of seeding and reaping is a tested principle of life. It will never be wrong and it will always come to pass no matter what.
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I have been busy teaching over this summer.
One of the things I noticed in terms of real learning is that the student or the learner must take learning seriously for it to take place. With ChatGPT and AI-generated content, students are being spoon-fed with information that is not curated, appropriate, and generalized to mean anything that could be suitable for their own use. The detection is simply a matter of finding if the language is sophisticated, the grammar is flawless, and the text sounds repetitive and when compared with other submissions, they all sounded the same. It is pathetic that we are producing a bunch of new graduates that relegated thinking to automation.
There are many wonderful things that ChatGPT can do to aid in learning but replacing critical thinking skills is the worst side effect of all. Universities, colleges, and academic institutions must have a company-wide policy as to what the students can't do with AI because it will harm their learning and because it is ubiquitous, it is easy to resort to this device. If students are ignorant as to the sources, limitations, and stupidity of automated content, they can easily use it not knowing that they are selling themselves short and becoming part of the automated herd.
Back in the 80s, learning was traditional and non-modern, but it worked for me. Computers came in the 90s and early 2000s donated from the US but we didn't bother learning more than what was expected. The Internet opened up a lot of doors in the early 2000s for learners but we were still pretty much into books and published materials. I can still recall some of the learning in the classroom during my first Masters when we would discuss issues in the class through the use of argumentation and debate.
Thinking about this for my daughter gives me concern for her future. As a society, while this technology is nascent and there are still imperfections yet, we should start building an ethical and governance policy for the use of this technology that will ensure the younger generation does not see it as an easy way out and not even an answer to their schooling/academic requirements and obligations. We should regulate the developers to the point that future developments do not create more risks for human consumption in areas where it can subvert or undermine human evolution. Risks assessments should be part and parcel of any policy pertaining to this technology.
We should own this technology and not own us. We should start delineating its boundaries and restricting its use for greater social benefit and not accelerate intellectual societal decay.
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This summer I'm taking a sabbatical leave from my business. I'm currently teaching and doing research at the same time so to me, it's not really a vacation but more of an introspective pause.
I have been working on my business for the past few years. Learned lots than most people in an 8-5 jobs. My portfolio has grown and networks too. I have been doing some interesting work lately and that took some of the time going out and meeting new prospects. My community program is also on pause pending a few things that I will be planning to do in the fall.
This summer I have plans to unwind, focus on family, tend to my plants, and enjoy my blessings. My pace has always been in touch with myself, not the markets, not what other people are doing, and not about the hype that will be crashing down soon. I have an ongoing contribution and that what matters most.
Another good friend of mine has passed away due to health complications. I always think about him singing his heart to the tune of the Beatles and our Sunday worship. He is an amazing human being, a ardent follower of Christ, terrific husband and father, and a great mentor to the Filipino-Canadian community. He will be sorely missed but he lived a meaningful life.
I am going to enjoy everyday life and deal with exigencies without worry, apology, and need for validation. I try to improve the lives of others around me and that in itself, enriches me immensely. A life like that is worth taking risks for.
Cheers to your summer too!
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I had the great privilege of doing research around cooperatives that are run by immigrant professionals or catering to the immigrant submarkets in Canada. This is very interesting to me as a part of the advisory committee, as an independent consultant, an instructor and lifelong student of social entrepreneurship.
The best thing about the process of building a newcomer professional cooperatives for the whole country was our decision to start small, low, and slow. We need to learn from those that have been around 15 years ago up to those that just started during the height of the pandemic. How are they persisting, surviving, or what led to their early demise?
One by one factors became clear. The founding members of the cooperative can make and break the organization by simply pulling out commitment and engagement at an early stage where everything is just dependent on everyone putting in their share of the work. Another reason is the lack of process of arriving at decisions that are equitable and fair for all concerned. The definition of fairness, equity, and cooperation is something that could be based on values, mission, and vision of the organization and the practicalities of creating a team where needs are met and valued with respect and dignity.
The third factor surprisingly is about how they show up for income-generation to get them started. With the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) on high demand by organizations and companies, these cooperatives rode on the high but do not have the Plan B in case the hype on this subject wanes and hits its inevitable decline. The truth of the matter is that like any other hype-driven, externally-imposed change practices, research shows that it is more tokenistic and rarely brings about lasting change unless management and senior leadership provides support, buy-in, and commitment to the outcomes they are trying to seek. Buyers of this service would peter out for sure as organizations realize that this is not just about a purchase of coaching, a training session, and three-ring binder of the module or a video.
Lastly, most of these cooperatives are for-profit enterprises that have a clear goal at the outset towards a viable commercial success. But unlike the private competition, the issues of money, financial discipline and controls, and sustainability are not as rigorously thought or understood, or maybe have been evaded until the worse becomes a reality. Marketing has become an afterthought or a knee-jerk reaction. Most of them are subject matter experts and are not really marketing strategists and does not have the time or inclination or discipline to learn more in this department.
Running a business is not a hobby or a charity for which some incomes go to the staff who needs to send some back home to feed his family. Survival in the marketplace is always tough and cooperatives are not spared of this even though, they mean well.
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When I moved to Canada 13 years ago, I was up for more shocks that I could ever hope for.
First, spatially, I felt strange with no hundreds and thousands of people competing on your space when you walk on the street, go to a store, and or take the metro. People are so polite, drivers allow you to merge, and police officers are feared but not perceived as corrupt or part of the corrupting system.
Second, in the workplace, there is less power distance than I can recall. There is no need for outward deference that what is necessary. There's more exchange of pleasantries as part of the culture not as something that is needed when you want to break the ice. Everyone seems to have their own place in the organization. When you in doubt about what you need to do, 'go to your supervisor.'
Third, we seldom see Canadians as part of the worlds' problem. As a middle power, Canada is a strong beacon of democracy and free enterprise. What I'm so proud of is that the project of multiculturalism while not perfect and perfected seems to work in this part of the world than any where else. While I came here seamlessly, integrated well than most immigrants, and have the privileges of education and international outlook, there are hundreds of newcomers that have experienced more hardships. I was an exception to the norm. We have a long way to go to closing this gap that is missing the best out of the global talent we now find here.
I have been shocked in my first few years but right now I feel more integrated than ever before. Diversity is our greatest common denominator in this Canada. If we devalue the least of our diverse citizens, we devalue our whole society and the power that comes with it.
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In the business of helping purpose-driven organizations succeed, we all know that it's all about relationship. Yet, networks and organization leaders prefer to put their goals and agenda front and centre. When they're unsuccessful in putting their agenda on the table, the focus on relationship becomes fickle and shallow.
We need to redeem how we make business with one another. Instead of profiting from relationship, we should ask ourselves, how our relationships not just give us what we want in terms of vested interests but also allow us the opportunity to examine our understanding of our organizations and the world we live in.
If we prioritize relationships before our own sacred goals, we do not lose even though we might not get what we want. If we prioritize being in-community with one another instead of competing for those limited funds and scarce resources, we are less about scarcity but more of generosity. If we understand that when an organization or a leader succeeds, there are hundreds more that can benefit from a simple stroke of convergence. If we lift one up, we know that this person will one day lift more people as they rise up from their own struggles.
Hence, when was the last time you forge a relationship between and within and outside your own networks and systems, without any vested agenda or purpose at all? Sounds too saintly? No! It's our business to make purpose-driven organizations more more purposeful towards humanity. It's our business to keep kindness our agenda.