If someone would ask my 10-year-old self if I would take the role of leading the start of a branch for a company, I would say “Impossible!”.
However, I am not that 10 year old kid who is scared of the world anymore. I have changed beyond 180 degrees from who I was, that is why when I heard about A SPACE Inc., I thought to myself that it would be me break to hone my skills in leadership. A perfect opportunity to grow and allow myself to experience a different kind of work culture. Luckily, they are nontraditional risk takers and our founder, Matt, decided to take a chance of me.
It is different when apply for a job just for the sake of being employed and it is another when you are hired and given a huge responsibility. I was at first flattered but later on after realizing the gravity of the position I accepted, I was challenged and a bit terrified. As a perfectionist, I always want to build a solid reputation in delivering results promptly and efficiently.
My first week started off with a training in our headquarters in Makati. There I was introduced to the people, standard, tools and work culture. They were the secret to A SPACE’s flourishing company. Unlike most companies that give tasks to employees, we were given responsibilities and the freedom to take on projects that were needed to bring out the results that were expected from us. It was a bit of an information overload for some of my colleagues, my geek side was happy with all the new learning.
Second week came by so fast and this was when I had to put my ideals and counter check it with reality. Usually, most companies are already established when they hire employees, it was not the case for us. We were a team of three with multiple roles. I was given the responsibility of managing the space and deals something, although I have had some experience as an associate, taking the lead is another ripple to take on. I arrived in the location of what would be our coworking space. It was all cement and dust. I would be one of the first few who would be witnessing the transformation. I had to deal with contractors and partners. My projects included sourcing furniture and materials, managing finances to leading a team. I had to be tough! I was never close to that. People see me and they always think nothing is wrong with the world. I learned to balance nice with firm to get results.
As 30 days approached, I had to bring out the artisan in me, not literally but in finding ways to get what needs to be done from creating sourcing itineraries to finding better ways to manage finances and people. Despite being a multi-tasker, the projects I had were above and beyond my usual scope and capabilities. I was my own devil’s advocate but the reaffirmation from my workmates made me secure on what I can do. Sometimes, you need a bit of a lift to go farther than usual.
After my first 40 days, I started doubting my abilities as a leader and as a project manager, a lot of things were not going my way and it seemed for a while that I was helpless. Thanks to the mentoring of our Space Lead in Manila and learning by doing, I managed to improve. I learned slowly how to harmonise with my colleagues. Day in and day out, I would spend more than 10 hours to get my projects done. I did not went through each project mindlessly, bringing out the philosopher in me, I thought deeply of each decision and the repercussions on our operation. I have never reached this level of drive until I started to work for A SPACE Cebu.
Since I left the non-profit organisation, I also started to wonder if I did the right decision. Was I selfish to go back to the private sector? I asked myself that couple of times but once we had our soft launch, I was reminded that it was not. Our company is private but we help build communities and empower those starting to breakout into their own industry. Rockstars! That is how we all treat our coworkers (we call them Spacers). Each time I go to the office, I am reminded about those moments when no one believed in me and I am relieved that the coworking space where I work in does its best to motivate people to always push further. It makes a difference once you feel that others think of you as someone destined for greatness and indeed, I can see it in them. I am happy that we are not only giving them a space to work but an outlet for them to be themselves and connect with others.
As we near the completion of our space and I am past my first 90 days, I feel that I have reach a higher level of me compared to the one who started last March. I am not only more confident of my skills as a leader but also happy to be part of a passionate team with a love for giving a high level of customer service and a sense of community. I know I still need to improve, no one ever stops learning after all. My next challenge is making sure all the standards are embedded into our practices and break current standards of quality service.
With all that said, the most important lesson I have learned is that anyone is capable of leading. It is in our very core as humans and just like any seed if given the right environment combined with passion, it is very possible to flourish in your own industry.