I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.
(From the poem I slept and Dreamt by Rabindranath Tagore. 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature)
Who I am? For that question, I am still working on an answer.
A few episodes define your life. To me, moving from my country to San Antonio in a rush is a pivotal moment. At the time, I was firmly convinced that my two sons had a better opportunity to a decent and honest life here in Texas, rather than in Venezuela.
It is a horrendous realization that your country only offers you despair.
Before that breaking point, I had a long and intense professional life. I had the opportunity to work for a prime transnational corporation in my country and later start a business that I leaded for more than ten years. I was involved in different markets, type of customers, processes and areas of a typical business.
I have seen not all but many business situations. Almost nothing scares me
In less than 90 days, home, family, possessions and my own business were mere memories. A new chapter in life started rather abruptly.
I am grateful to Texas. This has been in many senses a bountiful land for us. Yes, I realize that forever I will be a foreigner… here and there, in my old city. Still, I have learned to love the place, its people, its tastes and colors.
As part of this portion of my vital journey, I joined the Executive MBA at UTSA in Fall 2009. Not that I needed another master, but I needed to reflect on the first 25 years of my professional career.
I learned almost no new formulas but I got new ideas, met different people and experienced a whole new way of seeing things.
As part of the many reflective exercises during the program, I came with a short list that contains the tenants of my beliefs:
This I Believe
People are good. They want to do good
Honesty. First and foremost
Neither black, nor white. Life is a succession of different shades of gray.
I am not ready to pass judgment on you, on your conduct, on your beliefs, on your preferences
You are not your circumstances. You can improve upon them and reach higher.
Truth. Sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes hard to accept, but always Truth.
Money is one of many ways. Not an end in itself
Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis
All you need is Love
I want to commit myself to what is vital and important to me. What I want to be? What do I need to know?
TO-BE: ✭ A shepherd to my sons as they navigate the transit from adolescence to adulthood. ✭ Partner and companion to my wife, until the end of our time together. ✭A committed brother and friend, able to solve the distance that keep me away from a closer contact. ✭ A very active person on my intellectual work, an avid reader, a learner. ✭ A person that gives my time and effort to a non-profit organization with real commitment. ✭ A person that is able to tend to my soul by means of a religious practice.
TO-KNOW: ✭ What does it mean to fully embrace Buddhism as a guiding philosophy? ✭ What are my alternatives to continue my education in the near future? ✭ How can I explore my desire and improve the quality of my writing? ✭ How can I use my job search to bring myself to a non-profit organization?
Why did I join the program?
For practical reasons: Without a PhD, 80% of the potential teaching jobs are out of reach. With a PhD, I increase my credentials, something I need badly being a foreigner with a very limited network.
For personal reasons: I wanted to explore more, get more of an intellectual discipline that I realized I was missing, and I wanted to do research properly.
For ” I need a change” reasons: on purpose, I selected a program from the social sciences area. I was and I am tired of numbers, formulas, finance models and the vagaries of running a business: budgets, cash flow, reports, strategic planning, regulations and so on.
And finally, for ” I have something to say” reasons: I think that my long and rich experience combined with my natural intellectual curiosity will eventually give my a proper voice to express my ideas and help our community to move forward. How and when, I didn’t know when I joined the program. I am still figuring it out.
With little or no comparison to other programs and armed with my own reasons, I took the plunge.
That was me when I accepted UIW’s invitation