• A new beginning

    Chit Juan

    Chit Juan

    Our lives go on cycles, and often we find ourselves beginning a new chapter. Whether it is because we reach a milestone like a birthday or something crucial happens in our lives, we sit down and reflect on what life has in store for us.

    Easter is a good time to think of what is in store for us. After all, it is about the rebirth, a new beginning, a new chapter. We should not go about just churning work, going to work everyday and not stopping to check on why we do what we do. We must find the time and space to sit down, leave the gadgets behind and just let our minds go.

    I like to do this when I travel. Because I find pockets of time without internet connection, and windows of time when you are totally “unplugged” or on “airplane mode”—it is a good time to put on your “thinking cap” and reflect.

    Recently, I was thinking about the past 20 years I have spent in coffee. I am so happy to see younger entrepreneurs getting serious about the brew, as I was many years ago. I am glad that our efforts have not been in vain. I see more young people doing socially-responsible projects on coffee and its production, processing and retailing.

    I am also looking back during the days when I was active in CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility. That must have been year 2000 when I joined the League of Corporate Foundations and I felt like the youngest and smallest foundation. Today, many companies are into CSR and make sure they give back to their communities and employees.

    When I tell my friends I will soon retire, they all laugh. They think I am such a busybody I will never tire of working, flying, writing, speaking and teaching, too.

    But retirement is not about stopping your activities physically speaking. Retirement for me is about letting go and allowing things to just happen. It is about no longer being competitive, but about being collaborative.

    Mellowing is what others call it. While the young ones slug it out in business, one can choose to just “go with the flow” and “live and let live.” That is after all, our mantra in our ECHOstore—sustainable lifestyle. Sustainability means living while making others live. Not a dog-eat-dog world. Not kill to survive.

    So I am enjoying seeing new and younger people enter the space where I used to be.

    Where I saw each mall as a business opportunity to put up a store. Where everyone I met had to be a connection for business opportunities. When every night I thought about what was in store for 300 or 500 employees.

    These days, I read the papers and  I smile as I read about my peers. Still listing another public company. Still acquiring new properties and increasing their net worth. Still in the business of power, both literally and figuratively.

    This Easter, think about your life. If you have succeeded in changing another person’s life, you have already done well. If you have succeeded in helping a business grow, you have already done well. If you have contributed to the growth of an industry, you have already done well.

    Not everything is about money, wealth and power. I had a nice chat with my cab driver on my latest trip to the airport in Singapore. He will be moving soon to Saigon because to him, it is not about the beauty and cleanliness of his city, and earning Singapore dollars. It is about quality of life for his child who is only six years old. He is moving out of the frenetic pace of Singapore to have a quiet life in Vietnam. He wants to work an honest job and come home to a family and eat a home-cooked meal and simple joys. And . . . give to charity. That is from a cab driver, not a tycoon.

    Sometimes, the simplest things can be the best things that can happen to one’s life.
    Just like Mr. Ong, the cab driver, sometimes we have to think and look for a new beginning . . . and live that way the rest of our life.

    Happy Easter everyone!

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    Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium and Centris QC malls. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at puj@echostore.ph


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