PHOTO CAPTION: PA Joey Concepcion with wife, Marissa.
Life is a process. From the moment we open our eyes to learn our ABCs and 123s, up to our current endeavors, our lives are a combination of learnings, faults, and successes. Apart from this, we must identify our life’s passion and purpose.
Last June 23, I celebrated a milestone year in my life, my 60th birthday. I was with my family and some of our friends and we enjoyed a meaningful bash. I was overwhelmed by all those who greeted me, most especially those in the Go Negosyo Viber groups who are all part of the advocacy.
But among the numerous greetings, there are some which are very special to me. For one, my father JoeCon, despite his memory lapses, greeted me in a video. He cannot believe that I am already 60 years old. He said, “Wow, you are getting older like your father.” Another favorite message was from my youngest daughter, Isabella. In her Instagram post (a millennial thing), she shared:
“Happy Birthday Pa. Thank you for loving me for who I am. I wish you a long lasting life and good health. Thank you for everything you have done for me. I couldn’t be where I am now without you. Words cannot express how much I love you… I would never ask for a better dad. Love you.”
We had a small dinner in a restaurant where friends and family shared a few messages and greetings. Isabella confessed that she only gave a five-second message as she was about to cry. She was touched by the messages of other people. She added, “I was bursting of tears. I am so happy that a lot of people support and love you.”
In my personal reflection, I realized that if we are to divide our life similar to a basketball game which has four quarters, most of us, or those in my age group are either in the 3rd or 4th quarter of our lives. And we can only hope that the game goes into an extension. An overtime would mean more time to fulfil more goals and aspirations. Good thing, with the advances in medical technology and good genes, an extension is very much possible.
But then what is life without substance and purpose? Longevity is empty. For the past 13 years, I have many people who are now part of Go Negosyo and have supported this advocacy of helping others help themselves. We are all successful in what we do, but we all have decided that it is time to help others become like us by giving those who want it the most a chance to succeed.
This started when PGMA appointed me as presidential adviser for entrepreneurship back in 2005. It started the entrepreneurship advocacy and actively rallied for a change of mindset among Filipinos. What are the odds that in President Duterte’s administration, I was asked to be the secretary of trade, but it personally felt that the more capable one was Mon Lopez, Go Negosyo’s former executive director. Today, I am proud that Mon is the first secretary of trade who is putting more attention to helping our micro and small entrepreneurs. I am honored to support MSME development as the presidential adviser for entrepreneurship once again, uniting members of the private sector to support the development programs of the government.
Together, this has put greater focus on the needs of our micro and small entrepreneurs. Having senators like Migz Zubiri, Bam Aquino, Grace Poe, Sonny Angara, and Cynthia Villar among those who actively push for greater support to our MSMEs is indeed a plus!
And of course the role of the private sector, all of you in the Go Negosyo network, provide the mentorship, money, and market that help to give our micro and small entrepreneurs the chance to succeed.
This is the birthday wish I have for our country. It has always been the greatest wish that I hope to fulfil in my lifetime.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Go Negosyantes – from our trustees who helped realize the advocacy, to our sponsors and partners who continuously support our programs, to Imee Madarang and Mon Lopez as our former executive directors, to our mentors who are passionately offering their time, effort and expertise, to our mentees who also believe that Go Negosyo can help them achieve growth and success, to the Go Negosyo team who have worked tirelessly for this advocacy, and to all others who are part of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The past 13 years of Go Negosyo could have not been successful without these people.
I believe that a life with purpose will give us true happiness. So let us all live up to our life’s mission.