Hello friends! I feel kinda weird saying, “Happy New Year!” to you… but it has been that long since I’ve posted… so much for my NYR of posting more often. Sheesh. January’s been a rough month for me… I got a rib contusion as a result of a little trapezing fun just after New Year’s, and then a hard-hitting flu virus has taken me out for over a week. But in the whole scheme of things, these little maladies are very minor, so who am I to complain?
What I really want to tell you is that I had the immense honour yesterday to speak at the Asia CEO Women’s Summit 2018 amongst an amazing line-up of presenters. These included the former Ms. Universe runner-up Miriam Quiambao and 2016 Summer Olympics Weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz as well as former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez, DOT Secretary Wanda Teo, ICM’s Daphne Kuok, FEU’s Gianna Montinola, “Beautypreneur” & CEO Nikki Tang, Bacolod’s NICP Chair Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, and Advertising Executive Susan Dimacali. And then me, who fills out “HOUSEWIFE” as my occupation on the immigration card when I enter the Philippines.
Still, each of us has a story to tell, and I was privileged to tell mine. I recounted my journey as a novice bodybuilder, going from a skinny-fit mom to stepping on an international stage in my first-ever fitness model competition in less than a year. But my story is less about weightlifting than it is about my mindset, really. It’s about an internal transformation… overcoming fear and not letting the arbitrary limits of age hold me back. It’s about boldness and confidence. It’s about stepping into myself so I can look outwards to others.
My body changed, certainly, but I would put it out there that my heart and mindset changed more. As I overcame the comparatively simple challenges of prepping for a bodybuilding contest, I became better equipped to tackle the more real and long-lasting challenges of what really matters in this life: having a positive impact on the people around me. To me, this is living the fit life.
And this is the underlying message I heard again and again through the unique stories of all the speakers. Each had faced (sometimes enormous, even life-threatening) challenges throughout her career, and each challenge served to strengthen and fortify her, and solidify her trust in God, allowing her to turn her focus outward, towards using her gifts & talents for the good of all people. These are the themes that emerged as we progressed through the day:
- Know yourself and your gifts
- Be brave
- Use your power for good
- Trust God
- Work hard (and smart!)
- Stand up for what’s right
- Invest in others
- Take risks
- Die poor
At the end of the day we had a panel discussion in which anyone from the audience could ask a question to all the speakers. Some very poignant questions came out!
“What’s on your bucket list… in all your accomplishments, what haven’t you done yet?” For me, writing a cookbook!
“What were you doing when you were 24, and what advice would you give to young people?” My answer: I had just passed my RD exam and was working as a clinical dietitian in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of UCSF Medical Center in San Fransisco. My advice: realise that confidence doesn’t come automatically with age. It comes with doing something well, and giving yourself credit for it.
And then, “How do you want to be remembered… what do you want people to say about you when you’re gone?”
And I said: “In the end, it doesn’t matter what we look like, how much money we make, or what our job title is. That all passes away. What we leave behind is a legacy of people in whose lives we’ve made a difference. I hope that when I’m gone, I’m remembered as someone who made people feel better, someone who inspired others to achieve their potential… a kind, gentle, and wise mother, a loving and faithful wife. If I can achieve these things in my life, I’ll have lived my ‘fit life.'”
Or something to that effect.
Be well, my friends!