Winning Life’s Battles

Last Sunday, the Philippine nation was saddened with the loss of our country’s “Fighting Pride”, Manny Pacquiao to Floyd Mayweather. Days have passed, but it might take a while before we can move on from this match between our own PacMan and Mayweather.

Despite being the underdog in this fight, I did place a bet on Pacquiao because like many, I believe that our “Pambansang Kamao” still has a good chance of winning. There is the Filipino attitude in us that positively roots for his fellow country man despite the odds. Watching the fight from beginning to end however revealed that Mayweather indeed has an advantage. He was the smart fighter and used the boxing rules to his advantage. He was smart enough to use his solid defensive stance every time Pacman was on the attack, knowing that he could be knocked out by the forceful punches. He was smart enough to run or hug to break the flurry of blows, but would jab and punch to score. He was also smart by not fighting Manny during his prime years and surely, if this “Fight of the Century” happened 5 years ago, Pacman would have knocked him down.

Let us remember that Manny has come a very long way. Before he became one of the world’s greatest boxers, he had experienced early combats and battles. Born in a small village in Kibawe, Bukidnon, Pacquiao knew that their life will be filled with hardships. He had shared in many interviews that there was a time when his parents are jobless and that they have no home. He would even walk the streets to earn a few pesos or else, they cannot have one meal. Driven by their difficult and trying situation, young Manny Pacquiao left their hometown and boarded a ship to Manila with only a few coins and clothes. Then at 16, he entered the professional boxing scene as a junior flyweight. From then on, Manny Pacquiao is a name to remember. He had made his mark, leaving a resounding name in the boxing arena every time he fights. And as they say, the rest is history for this athlete from Mindanao.

One can never imagine that someone who has been fighting all his young years in the small province in the southern part of the Philippines, will now experience the respect and admiration of the whole world. The fame, fortune and glory that he’s experiencing are caused by his determination and passion and his wholehearted representation of the Filipino people.

This is the same with many entrepreneurs who rose from poverty. The rags to riches story is not new to many entrepreneurs. We have learned of their stories and are inspired by their values which helped them reach their goals and dreams today.

Let me relate Pacman’s qualities to those of an entrepreneur. We have seen the fighting mentality of Pacman in all his battles. His never-say-die quality is admirable and entrepreneurs must learn from this as they face challenges and trials in their entrepreneurial journey. Start-ups may experience struggles from the start but the Go Negosyo mentality, the positive and encouraging outlook can help them. This is also where passion comes in. When PacMan was starting, he was aware of the problems he left behind, but these does not stopped him instead his passion for this sport and his determination to rise above adversities pushed him further ahead. We must learn from him. We might think that problems will hold us back but if we look at it from a different perspective, we can see that these can be the launch pads, the jumping boards and spring that can help us advance in the future.

Every boxer or athlete in the world passes through an intense training before entering a match. Relating this to entrepreneurs, preparation is key. They too are encouraged to pass through training on the skills and management areas. We all need our mentors and our own “Coach Freddie Roach”. These mentoring sessions with established entrepreneurs which we provide can guide starting entrepreneurs on how they can survive the battle and excel in the business world. It’s challenging, like all fights and matches, but with the right preparation and continuous learning, they can emerge as victors.

Also, Manny always had to deal with competition.  He reads his competition well, what his moves will be, what his reaction will be and Manny has to prepare for what will his competitor do.  In the market place many years back, it was Magnolia that was the most dominant ice cream brand, until one day, it faced strong competition from our Selecta ice cream, a brand we bought in the late 80’s.   It was a crazy idea to challenge Magnolia at that time but we prepared intensively and continued to level-up the business, and today Selecta, our joint venture with the Unilever group, is the most dominant ice cream company in the country. In the field of competition, sustaining the winning attitude and skills, knowing the environment and having a better offering and advantage are always the key factors to success.

Each one of us is definitely a fighter in our own field. A Manny Pacquiao in our own way. Be it in a boxing ring or as “negosyantes” in the market place, we must always possess the Filipino fighting spirit coupled with positive mindset and trained knowhow, so we can all bring home our title belts and likewise continue to inspire and give back to others.

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Happy birthday to one of the staunch supporters of Go Negosyo, Sen. Bam Aquino who is celebrating his birthday today. We are grateful to have you as part of the Go Negosyo family throughout the years and we thank you for coming up with the Go Negosyo Act as a support to all entrepreneurs!


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