Female Asian professional at her work desk.

Professional growth is an ongoing process of development and improvement that often leads to milestones in one’s career. However, it’s easy to forget that it doesn’t occur on a . The journey can take you on unexpected twists and turns that will force you to rethink your goals and priorities.

Here, four Filipinas share the detours that led to satisfying careers and better use of their talents, and how they’ve discovered that professional growth begins with motivation, purpose, and a strong sense of .

Welcome Change on a Prescribed Path

Lauren Laudico Lachica wrote a five-page letter to her parents to explain why she was returning to school to become an interior designer, also known as career number three. She worked as a fashion stylist after college graduation. After 10 months, she pursued career number two, a corporate job with great benefits. It was her third year on a manager's track when she told her parents she wanted to give it up.

“I've always believed a job had to be linked to your passion so you would ‘never have to work a day in your life.’ It nagged at me, maybe because I wasn't doing something as creative as I thought.”

Lauren's boyfriend-now-husband, Kirby, unwittingly gave Lauren the idea to . He had re-launched his family's construction business and told Lauren he was trying to convince his sister-in-law to enroll at an interior design school. Lauren's response? “Can I try?” 

Lauren said she was never exposed to interior design as a career when she was young, but there were clues. “I loved playing with Polly Pocket and Lego as a child. I was also so obsessed with the SIMS that I couldn't sleep at night, thinking about the house I could design and build next.”

A short interior styling course at SOFA, which she attended after work hours, solidified Lauren's decision. She quit corporate life and finished her second degree, BS in Interior Design, at the Philippine School of Interior Design (PSID).

To her parents’ relief, Lauren now has a burgeoning practice as a licensed interior designer. She is also a partner at Ikoniq Design Studio, the design arm of her husband's construction company.

“Every experience I've had has been valuable to my personal and professional growth. I have found my , and I never want to lose it.”

Give Yourself Time to Foster Skills

Cristina Gomez-Verano spent two decades creating content for print and television. She never thought she had to give it up. But circumstances saw her saying goodbye to a fulfilling career “to be more present as a , wife, daughter, and sister.”

Helping her mom run the family’s small garment business led Cristina to rediscover that she had imbibed her parents’ ma-diskarte ways. “My parents always encouraged this enterprising mindset. It has saved me when my professional career would not give me enough financial stability."

Seven years later, Cristina expanded the garment business and became the co-owner of a water station and a laundromat. She also opened an Airbnb rental property in Baguio. 

Now, Cristina's have fired up a desire to become a published author one day. Whatever happens, though, she's not planning to give up anything this time.

"I realized that creativity can be applied in business and all other aspects of life. My goals may change, but my concept of success will always be achieving my most basic ideals of personal happiness and pride. They will always be linked to creation, passion, and family."

Challenge Old Assumptions

Ana Gonzales graduated from college looking forward to building a career in the creative industry. But she kept hearing people say, "Anong future mo diyan?" She answered by entering law school to get a “real job.”

She tried her best to become a lawyer, but Ana soon realized it wasn't her path. "I couldn't look at the laws and the cases without thinking of a story I could write or a documentary I could produce."

Ana quit law school, hunted for writing jobs, and decided to put herself first when making . Since then, she has written, produced, and created content for digital media and brands, conceptualized social media campaigns, and managed online communities. She also makes and sells chili garlic on the side, dreaming of opening a snack house someday.

Ana, who wants to create more content under her name, says her professional growth this not always financially rewarding, and that's okay.

"If I'm unable to live my life the way I want, I wouldn't be able to call myself successful. It's not easy to accept and fight for your definition of success. But when you allow yourself time to think about what makes you happy, you'll find your own path to success, and it wouldn't matter what other people think or say."

Keep Learning to Unlock Your Potential

Athena Fregillana thought writing magazine stories was her forever job. But what she truly loved was the collaboration required to produce compelling visuals. She already had the knack for finding the right people for certain tasks, she just needed to step out of her comfort zone to upskill.

Athena, who valued job stability, went freelance, seeking projects that could provide the professional growth she sought. Soon enough, she started winning pitches, taking charge of concept execution, and managing creative teams as a creative services producer.

“When I was a fresh graduate, success was about being at this level at a certain age. As I grew older, success meant developing the skills and resources to flourish anywhere. It's not about fancy titles or labels but knowing who you are and what you want to accomplish.”

After a two-year stint at a live stream platform, Athena continues to pursue learning, immersed in the constantly evolving digital landscape. “The pandemic was a game changer. I am again in the discovery stage. What else can I offer? How do I evolve as a creative person?” Athena isn't taking a break while she ponders her next steps. She has set her sights on launching a new business venture with friends later in the year.

Redefine Your Self-Care Routine for YOU

In chasing that bag, don’t forget to attend to your personal growth, too. Appearance and demeanor matter, whether for acing that job interview or commanding attention during presentations.

A routine suited to your needs can give you the to excel and do your own thing. Since you’re looking for growth, why not use a shampoo that helps your hair get stronger as it gets longer? Try Sunsilk Strong & Long Shampoo with biotin and aloe vera that help keep the hair healthy and damage-free.

Give your skin the pampering it deserves after a long day of work and exposure to external hazards. Apply POND'S Bright Miracle Ultimate Clarity Day Serum. It has niasorcinol that fades dark spots, refines the pores, and helps make the skin brighter.

Finally, use Closeup Red Hot Toothpaste for a bright, confident smile. It contains Antibacterial Zinc to eliminate 99.9% of bacteria, protect teeth, and give you fresh breath with regular use.

Professional growth often lies beyond the boundaries of familiarity and routine. Embracing discomfort can bring new opportunities and possibilities. You have to push your limits to move forward. Ready to step out of your comfort zone? We hope these four Filipinos gave you enough inspiration to get started.