[S20S] Kristel Silang’s CAREER ADVICE on following your gut, tapping into your true potential

Welcome to Something by 20-something! In this blog segment, I interview some fellow yuppies about life after college, career, relationships, and transitioning to this whole adult thing. This segment aims to share real-life stories and insights on “The Real World” by 20-somethings so we, other 20-somethings of the world, can learn #protips on how to wade through #adulting with as much grace and wisdom and courage as possible.

For our first feature story for 2016, I interviewed my dear friend Kristel Silang, the content manager behind MoneyMax.ph. She is also a blogger, published author, and all-around marketing/PR/events woman. The interview happened on January 10, 2016 on Messenger. #millennial

For the interview, I asked her the main question:

What are the top three life lessons that you learned in your 20s?

 

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Mailan
Why is it important for you to follow your gut?

Kristel
I think it’s important to follow your gut because it’s like an internal life compass for me. There are too many external voices that tell us what they think about our decisions when we tell them what we plan but our gut tells us what we really want when we’re ready for it. When we want something, our subconscious doesn’t stop thinking about it until it gets a resolve which results in our abrupt a-ha moments and our gut telling us what to do. That’s not based on scientific facts but just from my own experience.

Mailan
Where has your gut brought you so far?

Kristel
So far, it has brought me to my digital marketing career path, being a co-author of a book about online startups, and living independently in Manila.

Mailan
Are you happy with where you gut has brought you?

Kristel
Yes.

When we want something, our subconscious doesn’t stop thinking about it until it gets a resolve which results in our abrupt a-ha moments and our gut telling us what to do.

Mailan
Was there a time that you’re wrong about following your gut?

Kristel
So far, I think none. Some people might say that it might have been wrong if I got into hard situations because of it but those situations got me to work harder and be more persistent.

Mailan
Dealing with naysayers especially when you follow your gut can be difficult. How do you deal with them?

Kristel
I ignore them. If I truly think that my idea or move in life is not stepping on anyone’s toes and is for the better, I go for it. We cannot please everybody but we owe it to ourselves to do what we want and be happy.

Mailan
For some people, following their gut doesn’t end well most of the time. What can you say about this?

Kristel
They won’t go empty-handed because they have learned lessons along the way and they will have no “what-ifs” because they actually went for what they want. I think that’s better than living comfortably with haunting “what-ifs” in your mind.

 

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Mailan
What’s that “defining moment” that made you realize that you should stop underestimating yourself?

Kristel
I think that was back in 2012 when I worked for the largest retail conglomerate in the country. My previous boss hired me as a Marketing Officer when I’d just graduated a little over a year with no extensive experience in advertising and events management. I was 2 positions higher than where I deserved to be in given my standing at that time. Most people were surprised that I was already put in that position at a young age, and I only realized that when I saw that my peers were in their late 20s to 30s. That’s when I felt I needed to do a great job because someone saw potential in me and gave me a chance to prove her right.

Mailan
So far, what’s the most surprising that you have ever accomplished by tapping into your potential?

Kristel
I would think that it’s getting my current job. I have a background with Social Media Management but only an informal background in blogging, it being a hobby only. When I was given the option to lead a team and get into commercial content strategy, I was hesitant at first to take it because I didn’t feel I was qualified enough. I got into it anyway because of the encouragement of my coworkers and so far, we’ve been doing great in terms of producing better content for our audience.

Mailan
How do you know that you have a certain potential in something and it’s not just something you wish you could do?

Kristel
It would either be:

1) That something is a higher level of what you usually do.
For example, I never got into blogging for profit. I went into the lifestyle niche because I’ve enjoyed writing about travel and food. Actually getting a job that would require commercial blogging is a notch higher than that. I wasn’t doing it before but I had some experience with it. or;

2) That something is aligned with your personal goals or interests because that would mean you’d actually persist on doing it.
You can’t know for sure if that perceived potential on anything will come out great, but you know that you will not give up easily if you like what you’re doing. I wouldn’t think I have a potential in Materials Science and Engineering because Math and Science are not in my lines of interests, but someone who is very enthusiastic about learning about those fields could end up taking that as his/her career path.

You can’t know for sure if that perceived potential on anything will come out great, but you know that you will not give up easily if you like what you’re doing.

Mailan
How does pressure play a part in accomplishing a “surprising” feat?

Kristel
Pressure like sky-high expectations on a low budget project can either make you think it’s impossible or make you think about ways on how to get it done. I know it’s not just me when I say that one’s biggest accomplishments in work or in life were brought about by internal or external pressure.

Mailan
For some people, tapping into their potential can be scary because it’s something new. Can you give specific action steps on how they can stop underestimating their potential?

Kristel
1) Don’t jump right in. Take small action steps.
If for example, you think you want to be an entrepreneur but you’re not sure how you’ll handle your first business, don’t suddenly quit your job today and get into business right away. Run a side business and see how it works out. That’s when you can get a feel if you’re cut out for it.

2) Think if your skill set is aligned with the upcoming opportunity.
Sometimes, it’s surprising that some job shifters jump into completely different career paths that seems “so sudden.” What most people don’t know is that they’ve thought through and applied 1): They developed the skills they needed to go to the next level or different direction.

3) Ask advice from people who are already doing/have done what you aim to do, not your friends or family.
In relation to 2), a person who has been there can give you valuable tips on what will work or not on what you want to do. Most people fall into the trap of asking their best friend who is in a totally different field about something they don’t know about. You can also try cold-emailing or tweeting influencers for advice; you’d be surprised that some will reply to you.

Mailan
What potential do you plan on tapping into in 2016?

Kristel
It’s the first time I’m saying this in public but it would be to conduct workshops. I thought of being a professor back in college but I felt I needed more industry experience before sharing knowledge to other people. I feel that this is the year that I should finally do it.

 

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Mailan
What motivates you to help others?

Kristel
I have this innate feeling that I want to contribute positivity to the world. I can’t really explain it. People are busy most of the time and some people tell me that they’re surprised that I take the time to reach out and give a helping hand. If I can, I make it a point to give help to other people that will help them in the long-term.

Mailan
Is helping others a conscious effort for you or is it something that comes naturally?

Kristel
It comes out naturally. I have this proactive personality of reaching out to other people when I feel that they need help on something.

Mailan
What’s the most unforgettable experience that you’ve had helping other people?

Kristel
I think it would be when I started the crowdfunding project for the public school at Payatas. The teacher who organized the event chatted me the next day saying that the students immediately used the school supplies on the next day for school. That showed that they appreciated our efforts to give them gifts that Christmas.

Mailan
Some studies link helping others with overall happiness in life. Do you agree with this?

Kristel
Yes. It gives me a great feeling knowing that I made a positive impact on another person’s life.

 

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Mailan
How do you find life in your 20s so far?

Kristel
I think it’s the most exciting part of my life so far. I’ve had fun in my early twenties and right now, while still having fun, I’m trying to make more practical decisions with my life.

Mailan
How is life different now from your life when you were in college?

Kristel
I have more responsibilities now and although I still have my family, there are some decisions in life that I can make independently unlike when I was in college.

Mailan
Do you have everything figured out now like you thought you would?

Kristel
No. I still have a lot of doubts in my mind but I think as life goes along, that’s when I’ll figure out the answers.

Mailan
What inspires you to keep on going?

Kristel
The thought that I am not here just to do my job but to share a contribution for the betterment of my community, however small it may be.

Mailan
Last question: If your college self meets you now, what do you thing she’ll tell you?

Kristel
Wow, you’re in a different place where I thought you’d be but I’m happy for you.

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