After several meetings with some very promising people for a mini online magazine we are launching, I've realized that not all talented people are being stretched to their maximum potential. Or it happens at the later part of their lives. I think most people lack the model or inspiration that will catapult them to greatness. As Malcom Gladwell mentioned, it all depends on the opportunity that a person has - not the talent.
I was lucky enough to find myself in the company of ambitious and supportive visionaries through out my college years. First was in my college organization - Ateneo-Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations. The people there are geniuses! In terms of assessing international issues and the planning and execution of events. They are the ones who took me out of my comfort zone and made me realized that it is possible for me to be part of a team that can plan a three-day nationwide event with internationally renowned speakers. And they all speak very good English! HAHA! I mentioned this because I'm more of a writer, and being exposed to their kind of environment challenged me to be as fluent as them.
I also had been part of an international organization that tries to "cushion" the effects of climate change by building ecovillages around the world. These are villages that have their own power supply, water treatment facilities, food source, currency... I was the representative of the Philippines for the youth division and that position really stretched me beyond what I knew I can do then. It was beyond! I sometimes had to go to far areas to attend seminars and conferences. I got to interact with people from different countries like Japan, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia... and asked them about their experiences. The knowledge of the systems was the bonus. What I considered the real learning were from the exposure and inspiration that these people are doing something bigger than themselves for the benefit of the many.
I also volunteered in UNICEF where we went to Laguna for a psycho-social relief operation in an elementary school there. I was with several German students who decided to go volunteer in third world countries before pursuing their college diploma just because they want to give back. In my recent work with them, I learned that a lot of people here in the Philippines have their own charities and are doing their part in alleviating poverty in their areas - from doctors, bank managers to even simple carinderia owners.
I wish that I gained these kinds of exposure at an early age - maybe I would have been our batch Valedictorian or that kid who talked in front of the United Nations in New York. I always wanted to mentor someone - to help him realize at a young age that these things are possible if you just put hard work in what John Maxwell calls the "process to leadership."
I'm coming up with this program for Manila Kid where we (my team and I) can be in a position to mentor a young student to realize his true leadership potential and skills. We will expose him to different people who has exhibited "greatness" through interviews and one-on-one coaching and hope that it would somehow inspire him. We will also send him to seminars or lectures that will develop his passions, and provide him with the materials he needs (like books) to further improve his leadership skills. All expenses will be paid by Manila Kid of course. The program will range from 6 to 12 months depending on the needs and availability of the student. The best part is, he'll be the spokesperson of Manila Kid whenever we are invited to seminars or during our charity events.
I'm crossing my fingers and hoping we'll find the most suited person out there!:D