I recently received a request to help put into words my honest opinion about a good friend and how I think she can contribute to the world.
(What a scary question!)
In the process of writing my thoughts, it occurred to me what a profound impact she has had in my life without me realizing it.
Ever wonder how sometimes God send angels into your life purely for your own benefits? I am convinced Isabel is one of those angels.
You’d understand why reading this.
1/ My interpretation of Isabel Valle.
2/ How she can bring value to the world?
I would like to divide my thoughts on Isabel into 3 parts.
My wife and I met Isabel and Peter when they first moved to Brunei on occasional get together at the Australian Embassy, the Radisson Hotel and other social functions.
Our relationships grew to another level one day when my house caught on fire. Isabel and Peter were one of the first people that reached out to us then. We can still remember vividly opening the box of necessities that very evening donated by them. There were toothbrushes, women’s sanitary items for Deon, t-shirts, kids stuff and all the little things that we didn’t know we were missing – packed in a box of well wishes.
I often joked to Isabel that it was as if she was getting ready for our house to burn down with that box waiting for us. On a serious note, that night as we counted our losses, we also counted our blessings in that treasure box which our family will never forget.
I often ask myself, given the same scenario happened in reverse, would I have exhibited the same level of generosity to a casual acquaintance that I have met over social occasions?
Isabel’s good deed has altered our worldview on kindness for strangers. And has also since challenged us to pay it forward, leading with her own example.
So, here’s my first interpretation of Isabel:
Generosity of spirit.
Thoughtful to the nth degree.
I was recently prompted by a Facebook Memory of a testimonial post that I wrote of Isabel after she was invited to speak to our team about perseverance and work ethic. I wrote about the difference between a good and a great speaker, and that Isabel belonged to the camp of greatness; one who inspires action long after her speech was delivered. What amused me and caught me by surprise reading back on my note was that, one of my staff actually quit her job after listening to Isabel’s talk!
Beyond that speaking session, Isabel also volunteered as our regular columnist at Inspire magazine. I will occasionally stumble into her past contributions and find myself charged up by her unfiltered messages with crystal clarity. When it comes to Isabel’s writing, I’m a self confessed fan. I’d be the first to read her latest blog post and share them on Facebook whenever she has something new to share, because it makes me look that much smarter to be sharing those words of wisdom.
My second interpretation of Isabel:
And downright dangerous.
Of course, I hope this will not be the end of what I would learn from Isabel. Despite our geographical difference ever since she moved to Bangkok, I continue to be on the receiving end of this generous friendship.
I launched a series of Masterclasses towards end of last year to share what I have learned from Inspire magazine, while I was at a low point of my career. I had just ended my publications just months earlier.
I was expecting kind compliments and encouraging remarks when I sent her the first draft of my brochure. However, Isabel unreservedly tore it apart. While her brutal honesty hurt, it was a much needed advise that made a world of difference to my messages. My texts came across as weak and lacking in confidence. As a reader, she could sense I was holding back, fighting my own demons with fears and struggle.
Without hesitation, Isabel helped change the whole outlook of my Masterclass by simply tweaking the tone of my writing. She is one of those rare craftsmen who understands how little details can make a huge difference and knows exactly which button to press.
More than editing, it was Isabel’s believe in me that gave me the confidence to share a piece of myself through my Masterclasses.
I had one of the most enjoyable moments catching up with Isabel over breakfast during my recent visit to Thailand. I could feel that Isabel was living in her element. She sounded as though she was taking full control of her life and is thriving with her new found purpose with a world-class personal development program that she was involved in. As always, Isabel also took a special interest in the work I’m doing and the well being of my family.
At the end of the meeting, she made me feel so good by believing in myself more than I do. I remember thinking to myself; I only wish everyone would be lucky enough to have a friend just like Isabel.
Undeniably, there are obvious differences between the Isabel I knew in Brunei a couple of years ago and the Isabel now. She is more polished, more purposeful, guided with more weaponries to make changes.
However, to me, it doesn’t matter how much more polished Isabel gets, it is her greatness of spirit that is long ingrained in her that makes her truly remarkable. The rest of the accolades are simply just a bonus, no matter which ivy league institution she associates herself with.
My third and final interpretation of Isabel?
A Super Smart Person / a Superb Editor / an Amazing Marketeer.
Above all, a Great Teacher.
One whose talent would always be superseded by her kindness and her wholeheartedness in rooting for your success, often time, more so than your own.
The kind of friend that you can only wish for, and brag about because you know it is God favor that he planted an angel into your midst.