Apr 17, 2013

Early this year I was invited to be one of the speakers in a major event dubbed as SUCCESS SUMMIT slated on May 10, 2013. I readily said yes and was thrilled to see great names in the roster of speakers.

The speakers are Raymond Aaron (North America’s No. 1 Success Coach and New York Times Top Ten Best-Selling Author), Norman Black (my favorite UAAP champion coach, and former CBA, NBA and PBA player), Jim Lafferty (former CEO of Coca-Cola Nigeria and Procter & Gamble Philippines), Alex Araneta (Chief Catalyst of Catalyst 360 and Philippine Star Columnist),  Jaymie Pizzaro (a.k.a The Bull Runner, a renowned blogger), Ging Igual (TalentSmart U.S. EQ Trainer), and of course, yours truly. (See the photo of speakers for their respective topics.)

When I finally saw my assigned topic, “Preparing yourself for financial success” I felt a tinge of doubt as I secretly asked myself, “Huh! I’m not even a billionaire… (yet!? :-)) Do I have the ‘k’ to handle this topic?” Then I reminded myself, “Why are you doubting yourself now? Don’t you write a weekly column on raising children with high FQ? Don’t you give talks on financial literacy and thoroughly enjoy them? And most importantly, have you forgotten that you always tell your husband that everything you want to have, you can already afford?” (Of course, “what I want to have” is still tempered by my Ilocano genes.)

Then I started to get back my confidence. I also started to reflect on the true meaning of success. I don’t know what Alex will say about this topic when he discusses it on the 10th of May, but I do have my favorite definition of success.

Before we go to my definition, let’s check out what Merriam Webster’s Concise Dictionary says: Success – favorable outcome; gaining of wealth and fame; triumph.

We always picture success as something that puts you on top of the game. You’re successful in school if you graduate with honors. You’re successful in your career if you get promoted quickly. You’re successful in business if you’re making good profit. You’re successful if you’re the best in your field, famous, wealthy and adored by many.

All these definitions are ok and very easy to determine because they’re quantifiable. But somehow, they also have a limiting effect. If being successful is being the number one, then only a few can be successful.

Let me now discuss my favorite definition of being successful. I believe that each of us is created with unique gifts. And because of this, we all have a role to play in this world. Sometimes because of the standard definition of success, we tend to forget our unique gifts and we just follow the mob rush to that “standard road to success.”

To me, being successful is being able to maximize your God-given talents. And for us to maximize these gifts, we should be aware what these are. Usually, these are the things which we love to do, the things that we are sometimes effortlessly good at. I love borrowing this quote from Frederick Beuchner, a novelist, philosopher and theologian. He said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

My own paraphrase, which I have used as my guide in living my life is this: “God’s will for us is the intersection of our greatest passion and the world’s greatest need.” Being successful then is essentially following the will of God.

This may sound too spiritual for the young and restless graduate raring to succeed and take on the world! But really, success is something much more than the quantifiable material signs. Sometimes, we see seemingly successful individuals still feeling empty and maybe it’s because their success doesn’t seem to give them the fulfillment that they thought they would have once they reach the top. There is no deep gladness or joy because they became number one in something that’s not their gift, not their calling.

Another reason could be the lack of meaning in the success that one is experiencing. Let’s say you’re already following your passion. You’re doing what you love to do and you seem to be appreciated for it, both financially and with adulation. If the emptiness is still there, it may be because there is no one else benefitting from your success in a meaningful way. Maybe there’s no deep hunger in the world that’s meaningfully answered. So it’s important that we have these two elements present: our passion or gift and a need or hunger in this world, and when we are able to reach that point of intersection, that is our sweet spot, our point of success.

Here’s the good news. Because each of us has unique gifts, and there’s a multitude of needs in the world to be filled, we can all find our own point of intersection – where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need! 

Isn’t it liberating to know that we can all be successful because we don’t have to crowd ourselves towards the direction of a very narrow definition of success? We can all be successful if we learn to listen to that calling.

How about you, how do you define success?

Wishing you a truly successful life,



1. SUCCESS SUMMIT will be held on May 10, 2013 9am – 5pm at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium of the RCBC Plaza, Makati City. To register and inquire contact or

2. FQ: A WORKSHOP ON FAMILY FINANCE will be held on April 27, 2013 1:00 – 5:30 pm at the Seameo Innotech, Commonwealth Ave. (beside UP Ayala Technobub). To reserve call or text 0917 5395770 or email