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  LIFELONG LEARNERS

Opening New Doors Your Ultimate Career Reinvention and Transition Planner (Plata, 2015)


“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ― Walt Disney Company

Curiosity led Lucy Pevensie and her siblings to a large and empty spare room in Professor Kirke’s country home. In the room was a big wardrobe with a looking glass in the door. Nothing else.
When her siblings left the unremarkable room, Lucy stayed behind out of curiosity. She wanted to open the wardrobe. Perhaps, it was locked? She wouldn’t know for sure unless she tried. She thought she’d give it one try, then leave.
Surprise! The wardrobe opened and two mothballs dropped out.
And the rest is NARNIA!
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Are you reinventing yourself because of retirement? A burn-out? A downsizing in your company? A deep-down thirst for something grand but vague? A loss and grief you wish to overcome? Or childlike curiosity and a sense of adventure?
Whatever your reason is, Sterling M. Plata’s Opening New Doors (2015) is a marvelous companion as you sail into bewitching worlds of uncertainty, meet breathtaking creatures, and ride on a flying carpet of amazing feats.
Dr. Sterling M. Plata was my colleague and friend from De La Salle University-Manila. Although our friendship has been mostly academic, it is collegial and sincere. However, I didn’t really know her as a person.
Page iii of Opening New Doors introduces her as the Author of the book. Sentence 1 says that she “hit rock bottom many years ago.” It got me curious. What dark dungeon is she talking about? She always seemed happy and carefree.
I browsed through Chapter 1, “Are You Future-Ready?”, looking for the answer to my question. Not there.
On to Chapter 2, “Financial Stability & Growth.” In the introductory page, Dr. Plata narrates how her family lost everything in a fire which consumed the entire public market of Binan, Laguna in 1982.
Her family’s “huge, grocery store” meant everything to her parents, her siblings, and herself. It was their only basket. And all of their eggs were in that one basket. They had no savings, no insurance. She was sixteen. Suddenly, her dreams turned into ashes.
Guess what? Like a phoenix, her family regenerated itself. They stayed together through the hard times and conquered the odds.
Personally, Dr. Plata learned the crucial importance of money management and financial literacy. And the creative power of dreaming up a new reality – the power of reinvention!
Western gurus of financial literacy like Robert Kiyosaki also talk about tough times which motivate them to seek financial stability and growth.
But Dr. Plata’s book speaks to me like no other book has. Her voice as an author is genuine, authentic, and disarmingly honest. Is it because she’s a woman like me? A Filipina? An academician who has bravely branched out into many fields? A scholar who sings, dances, and prays?
Opening New Doors is a no-nonsense toolkit. It is an action planner, motivational guide, affirmation hub, and dream catcher. As a toolkit, it’s like a workbook with quizzes, reflection prompts, affirmations, and tasks to accomplish.
For someone like me who sorely needs a mentor in financial literacy, I appreciate the personalized tips on winning the game of wealth, organizing financial records and documents, and building multiple streams of income.
In particular, I am fascinated by the featured ordinary persons who have successfully reinvented themselves.
Isagani Cruz proclaims that life begins after retirement.
Richard Gonzales states that walking away from a good job is the way to go toward a brilliant career.
Migs Lisbona has morphed from a hotel and restaurant manager into an academic into a Results Coach and Chief Encourager. (Interesting job title!)
Marshall Valencia has made his wild and crazy dream of a “four-hour workweek” a reality.
These persons are ordinary human beings. They’re not Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, Henry Sy, Manny Pacquiao, or even Joel Cruz the ‘Lord of Scents.’
Hey, reinvention is for all of us. Dreaming is for all of us. There are no walls, no barriers, no limits.
“What is it that you want? Really, really want?” Migs Lisbona asks in Chapter 8 which he contributes to Opening New Doors. Then he asks, “Why?” He believes that you and I have a grander version 2.0 of ourselves. It is a version which we must harness, visualize, and make manifest.
It takes a VISION of a more sparkling reality. It takes focus and effort. It takes discipline, action, determination.
Reinventing oneself means closing one door so you can open new doors. Migs Lisbona states that a closed door is the opportunity to open a new one. Do not grieve over a closed door. Well, if you must, go have a good cry. Then move on. “Sometimes, we need to die in order to live and grow,” Migs assures us.
I learn a new word in Chapter 11. Ever heard of “geekification?” Well, a geek is either an unpopular nerd or a respected expert in a narrow field. For example, a reading teacher who can unlock the world of letters for under-achievers is a geek. So geekification is turning yourself into an expert. It’s creating a niche for yourself.
I love this “geek” part of Opening New Doors. Dr. Plata coaxes her readers to “become the person you want to be, actually produce something even if it’s just a cup cake, get a national or international certificate on your specialization, complete your degree, take an online course, join a professional organization, and read every day.”
Let me expand on taking online courses. Google MOOCs, which means Massive Open Online Course, and you will get millions of links to online courses. One link gives the top 10 sites for FREE online courses with elite universities such as Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA and Yale.
Dr. Plata attests that she has taken courses with COURSERA, a platform which provides borderless education to peoples all over the world. Coursera partners with top universities and organizations.
A magnificent discovery for me!
Would I give Opening New Doors as a gift to someone I care for? Definitely.
There are proofreading lapses which can be easily taken care of in the next printing. Those lapses do not diminish the soaring spirit of the book and the earnestness of the author who hugs you ever so gently and warmly with her authentic personhood through these affirmations:
I have a choice. I choose wellness. I am healthy, wealthy, and wise. My soul is tranquil. My mind is brilliant. I receive divine help every day. I am full of gratitude. I meet people who support my dreams. I take action to achieve my dreams. I love and enjoy what I do. I am an expert. Money comes to me while I sleep. Golden opportunities knock at my door.
** ** **
P.S. Migs Lisbona believes that “old dogs CAN learn new tricks.” Why? Because he’s a curious old dog and he’s still learning new tricks!
For more information, please google “opening new doors, sterling plata” and you will find the link to its Facebook page.



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