Life has its way of unfolding mysteries like a book turning from page to page. It was the 4th of August last year when I first stepped in Mrs. Wharton London Bakes and English Teas in SM City Southpoint. I had a meeting that day with a colleague who is one of my influences in the field of digital media. In the meeting, I was able to have a quick get-to-know hi and hello with Mrs. Anna Marie Wharton herself. As I went out of the shop, I felt something different. I can’t explain it even as of writing this INTROSPECT article. All I know that moment was there is something special with my world colliding Mrs. Wharton’s world. I treasured that like a gold nugget in my pocket.
That was the beginning of my several visits to Mrs. Wharton’s shop in SM City Southpoint until one special day comes. I was given a chance to speak about marketing and branding during a Connected Women session held at her shop last November 7, 2018. Everyone close to me knows that I am passionate when it comes to marketing and branding as I am learning it from several gurus in the field. I gave my best shot in that speakership invitation.
In the middle of my climactic drama in delivering my topic, I am unaware of Mrs. Wharton’s keen observation like literally with her shoulders squared forward and eyes looking straight at me talking. In my peripheral view, I could see her nodding as I nail my points one by one. From that night, everything was a life-changing journey as a part of me was drinking from the fountain of life God has placed in her. This is the very reason I am writing a list of life lessons I had from multiple interactions with her.
Dream big and believe in that dream even when no one does.
God has the best plan for everyone. That plan is laid out in the Bible and planted in each of us in a dream form. The moment you get a grasp of where God is leading you into, the path may not be that easy. Mrs. Wharton can better explain the hardship she had to go through to where she is now. As featured in The Philippine Daily Inquirer in back in 2003 and Entrepreneur Magazine in 2005, she expressed “My only goal back then was to survive. It was okay for me to go hungry sometimes, but seeing my child not eating broke my heart.” When God places a dream in you, the only person He needs to agree in that dream is you. Not your family or friends. The first person God will build to jump-start that dream is you and no one else. And that dream always goes back to God, to his eternal good and perfect will.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
It is all by the grace of God.
This is the common statement I can hear from Mrs. Wharton. Everything under the sun is about the grace of God. From the rising of the sun to the setting down, what hovers the earth is God’s grace. Not usually heard from the business episodes we had at Business At The Wharton’s, this is the ground statement from where every wisdom sprung out. From all the glamour and success stories, she keeps her anchor in that grace. She tells me that whatever I see on her, it’s all about that grace that God has poured on her path to overcome all the hurdles along the way.
1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I (Apostle Paul) am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Go for it! You have potential in you.
Believe that God did not settle for less. The moment He placed His grace on you through the cross, He gave all the tools in life. As you search God, you will find those tools to build life for yourself and your family. When I entered the business industry, I had a slow grasp of how things go but now I am learning much. I have heard many times over Mrs. Wharton telling us, young entrepreneurs, “businessmen or entrepreneurs are a special breed.” We will need a whole lot of faith because business is spelled as R-I-S-K! She always says, “Try and try because you will never know. Maybe, you will be the next Mang Inasal or Jollibee.” When you have inspiration on something, “just do it” by Nike. Then, you will discover whether your idea works or not. Remember, as God planted that dream in you and placed his grace on you, He will complete that til the end.
I (Apostle Paul) thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Every decision is a spiritual decision.
This statement is a personal share with Mrs. Wharton. Business always reflects the owner. I believe that the spiritual unseen force affects the physical world. In Genesis 1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” meant that there was a spiritual field that existed and created what we see and touch today. By this preface, if I build a business, there is no separate personal and business decision. Decision is decision. Business decisions will mirror the personhood. Personal decisions will equal to the business. These decisions will move the unseen present and future things. That is faith.
Do not worry. But rest in the goodness of God.
From our last episode of Business At The Wharton’s held at the SM City North Wing, Mrs. Wharton ended with a secret to her success. She rested in God, in the shadow of His sovereignty. Whatever we do, God is the main contributor to its completion and success. God’s will is crucial to the outcome of every endeavor. You read more at a page post in Nile on Weekends about this Charles Spurgeon Exposition. As Apostle Paul said in the first book of Corinthians, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” God will always outweigh man’s best effort. If you want life to be the best it can ever be, choose God over any opportunities and amount of money. The danger of seeking money is you open up yourself to a whole lot of opportunities. Many of these are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Because your focus is on how to earn and grow your bank account, you lose the sight of this danger. Learn to identify the timing of God. In God’s goodness, even if you sleep at the right time with the right number of hours, God still holds the success.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.
Now, Mrs. Wharton opens a new branch of Spa Riviera – Spa Riviera Prime in SM City, Southpoint. Spa Riviera is the first premier spa in Iloilo City way back in 1999.
I hope these life lessons will also be a great help on your journey. You have a long way to go. As a reminder from Mrs. Wharton along with all the achievements she may have, “Until you breathe your last breath, you have never arrived at your destination.” Life is an ongoing journey. You will discover more mysteries in it. And I hope, in that discovery, you will meet God!