Day213 of 2020

What are you grateful for today?

I am grateful for creative minds that make wonderful TV shows and amazing movies. They stimulate our minds, helps us dream, and motivates us to become bigger than ourselves. Today, season 2 of Umbrella Academy premiered on Netflix. I just spent 10 hours of my life having a show marathon.

I am also grateful for public holidays. Even when I decided to work, they’re still quiet enough days to have a break.

I am grateful for family. For a lovely daughter that always melts my heart, a husband that makes my heart skip a beat, and days that were all in the same comfortable home.

Taking a real break is probably one of the things that a working professional identifies as almost impossible. But as you might already know, it is one of the most essential and most rewarding for all.

When I filed for a week off, I was ready to be disturbed just like every other holiday I’ve filed in the past but I was equally challenging myself to break a record and have a different result this time around. And I put more bets on the latter.

The result? 1 week of 99% personal time — there was only 1 missed phone call which lead to a 2 minute consultation over workchat and my 2 self-initiated checkpoints, which were probably less than 15-minute work conversations.

This made me think how I was able to accomplish this… and perhaps, it’s worth sharing to the my workaholic circle of friends.

ONE. Believe that you deserve a week off!

TWO: Tell your team (Direct Reports, Extended Direct Reports, Your Manager) as early as possible. But what’s more important is to remind them 2-weeks before that it will happen.

Points to include:

1. Ensure that the dates works for all of them. Why? Because this means they need to be at work while you’re on leave.

2. Be clear that the next 2 weeks is prep for all of you. All projects, approvals, concerns should be done before your leave starts.

3. Reiterate the trust that you have in each of their capabilities while ensuring that things are in place for them to be ok. If you’re worried about some team members, ensure they have the extra support that they need.

4. Let them know that same week off is also available to them. Taking turns also applies to adults.

THREE: Clear your inbox, close critical items, and evaluate your to-do lists. It’s a simple prioritization that I use for my to-do lists: Finish Now, Delegate, or Can Wait until I get back.

FOUR: Have a clear endorsement plan — this is not just about who of your direct reports does what, it should include what your boss needs to be on top off. I am lucky to have a team that is capable, responsible, and independent so in the end, I only had to endorse 3 meetings my manager (and they were all just checkpoint meetings).

FIVE: The day before the leave, send another message to your team and colleagues that work closely with you.

The ones I cover:

  1. Send/raise anything that needs your attention by early afternoon so you can close them off before EOD
  2. They can call/message if things are burning even if you are on leave but they have other channels that they can also go to
  3. Reiterate the Points of Contacts
  4. Remind them of the things that make them successful.

My success reminders to my team were simple:

Stick to the Basics.

Be disciplined and organized.

Care for each other, Support each other, and Love each other.

SIX: Set your Out of Office email notifications and ensure you include your Points of Contact.

SEVEN: The first day of the leave, I actually invested 2 hours in the morning to do a final check and close off anything that came through late and over the weekend. And yes, I had to force myself to close the laptop and LET.IT.GO.

EIGHT: Set your intention to the universe. Manifest. This strengthens your resolve and aligns the universe to help you achieve the desires of your heart. I did mine through an FB post and as a bonus, I got 124 individuals (likes and comments) who shared their whitelight for my goal.

NINE: Mid-week, I think it was Wednesday afternoon. I asked how everyone was and if they would like to give a quick update. This helped me gauge if anyone needs help, my aim was to get them support before things started burning. It was not a surprise that I did not need to do anything for any of them.

Last Pro-tip: 2 hours before EOB Friday, the last day of my leave. I asked my team for an official update for the week and explained that I will probably work a couple of hours on Sunday in prep for Monday. The one thing I missed was doing the same for my manager and asking if she wants me to focus on anything first thing Monday, something for the next week off then. 🙂

Next week will probably be the stress test and there will be more learnings I can add to this. But if I just solely rely on my experience this week, the Week Off was a big win!

How about you? What do you do to prep for a vacation leave? What works?

If you end up trying my suggestions above, please share your experiences.

Love Never Fails

Love is a sacrifice.

I was ready to publish a completely different post when I realized a deep-rooted limiting belief, which is that Love and Marriage requires Sacrifice. As far as I can remember, my parents’ marriage was always full of tears — fights, near separations, silent treatments –but they’ve always stayed together. Somehow, that became my ingrained truth.

In hindsight, I realized that I somehow became a 3rd person in my parents’ marriage. I remember fighting with them to try and appease the situation or one of them unloading their sentiments to me after a misunderstanding. Up to know, I could sense when their relationship is good, bad, or worse.

I learned to cope by rationalizing. Cerebral was how a friend described it, protection was how I saw it. I used to think that I found it hard to process emotion because my family wasn’t very showy but in hindsight, I think I might have trained myself to not feel emotion because it was the best way I knew to not to get hurt.

Without intention, the repeated rationalizing has lead to numbing myself. Borrowing from Elsa, “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know”.

And in this process and with the belief that Love is a sacrifice, I have managed to always put myself last. The funny thing is I was rational enough to know that I need self-care. I gave myself time but it was always the last hour of the week and I was always willing to cancel for someone else. Always with sacrifice.

So I need to form my new truth and what best to choose a truth from God, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

And it doesn’t say love equals sacrifice, noh? ❤️


Before I started this journey, I rated my life a 9/10 but as weeks passed by, the process is making me relive so many things that I feel I have progressed from or maybe in the least, I have learned to manage.

I feel this whole process has either made me extra sensitive or the journey is causing unresolved issues to surface. Either way, I am uncomfortable and I am unhappy.

If love is the answer and then I am lost in the questions still.

Seriously, I liked me better before this journey… but I am holding on the fact that I will find a better person if I trust the process. I have always promised myself that I will try things at least once and change should not scare me, so persevere I will.

One tip given is that during the hard days, you have to go back to your declaration so I am choosing that, I choose Love.

The hardest thing about doing this leadership trilogy is the introspection. It’s the coming to terms with the realities of the world you’ve built. For months now, I wondered if I was bipolar cause there were manic days and depressive days but I was always high functioning and every google checklist I did said I wasn’t one.

Today though, I realized something very important on how I have been able to keep myself “happy”. I always knew that I was grateful and that I chose to look at life as glass half-full. I tried hard not to because there are people who have bigger problems than me. But this gratefulness is also my problem because when confronted with a situation that made me unhappy or made me uncomfortable, I will choose a flight response and I would rationalize that feeling sad is being ungrateful.

Fast forward to today, I have made so many choices that I made myself as the last priority. I have trained people to take me for granted. I have agreed to things that made others happy even if it didn’t sit well with me. I’ve become a person who needed validation. And I apologize for almost everything — perceived or real.

Why? Because I simply wanted love. I believe that love should always be reciprocal — you get what you give. So in the hopes of getting the love I want back, I give all that I have to give.

This definitely stems from my feelings of unworthiness. That no one can love me for just being me. But I realize how that is the farthest from the truth, the first person that needs to love me for me should be ME!!! How dumb of me to just get this now and I feel like laughing because I have shed a million tears over begging for love when I have so much of it to give and I only needed to decide to give it to myself first.

And you know what? This is all on me.

%d bloggers like this: