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We all have dreams!

Cabeolica Wind Farm - Cape Verde

We all have dreams, things we’d like to do or see happen, right?

These are dreams that drive us and give us strength to every day do what we know that has to be done.

And now finally one day our dream came true! … What happens? What we feel?

I venture to say that we would all answer that we are happy, fulfilled, pleased, euphoric … but for how long?

In fact the WHAT’s (dreams, goals) of our lives are important, since they help to define what has to be done and it helps keep the focus in the direction we want to follow.

But is this enough to feel satisfied, fulfilled and happy?

How long we celebrate the achievement of the WHAT’s? 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week?

Could the WHY’s be able to help?

And what are the WHY’s?

As the word itself suggests are the reasons / causes for which we want to achieve those dreams, and the more these WHY’s are aligned with our purpose in life the more powerful the dream will become and more fulfilling the accomplish will be, WHY?

Because we realize that is not only the accomplishment of the dream that satisfies us and fulfil us, contributing to our self-esteem, but also and mainly all the way to achieve it, because every day we are doing things that are according to our values and contribute to our purpose, and that’s when we realized that is not only achieving the goal or accomplishing the dream that becomes rewarding, because that scale of our lives are miserable milliseconds, but the whole course of our life becomes rewarding!

Having goals and dreams is essential, but without defining the WHY’s we run the risk of living a life on the hunt for goals and dreams in order to feel fulfil, because if we only feel reward with the achievement, we will feel grateful only in a small part of our lives.

Like everything in life, music has a beginning and an end, but for it to be successful has to be sung and played from start to finish with PASSION and with the purpose in mind!

If you accomplished to read up to this point you must be wondering why all this philosophy … because this is the story of my life, made of a lot of WHAT’s and with very strong WHY’s.

Do I consider myself as a successful person? No, I would not define myself that way, I consider to be a person with a lot of successful moments in my life but also some failures however failures do not discourage me, on the contrary they give me strength because whenever it happen I try to see why I flawed and that makes me become even more stronger. The growing process that makes me feel that I can BE better and DO better is what fulfils me.

To me the reward of achieving the dream is the fun I have in overcoming the obstacles, in defying the odds, to be imaginative finding solutions, to motivate those who are on my way to fight for the common goal, in learning more about me and the others, in making others believe and trust in me and my work, to know that I have given my best, to feel that I gave something of me that will forever change something or someone and most of all to enjoy and feel passion for what I’m doing!

I have a lot of moments in my life that could exemplify what I have just written but today I’m going to share the most recent episode in my life.

March 22nd of 2011: I had been mother for the second time about 3 months ago when Matthew Duffy (Amida Recruitment Ltd) contacted me because he needed an experienced project manager for Cape Verde and the role was to ensure the client (wind farm owner) the compliance of the EPC contract, monitoring the technical, quality and schedule compliance and along the process support the client to start-up the company building up and training the team.

For some time that I had the ambition of working on an international project and as contractor however this could not have been the worst moment for the dream to come true.

Most people might be thinking that I refused this opportunity. Did I?

NO! And WHY?

Because I have a WHAT (dream) and several WHY’s.

The WHAT is that I want to start-up my own engineering company and however this opportunity was not exactly my dream I knew that it was a dot that would somehow connect to the future I wanted.

Quoting Steve Jobs: “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Some of the WHY’s are:

1) I know my time is limited and I don’t want to waste it living someone else’s life.

2) I want to be the best in what I do and that is only possible if I keep challenging myself doing different things with different people

3) I love the idea of being useful helping other to be better and there is nothing that makes me more proud than a trainee coming to me and teach me something new

4) I want to provide the best future I can to my daughters and I would not let my destiny faith in any employer. If you want something done, do it yourself!

So what did I do with the WHAT and the WHY’s? I chase the support. My first challenge would be to sell my dream to my family.

And this was my first success however I have to admit that it was possible only because I have a wonderful family in particular a great man as husband and a caring mother and last but not the least amazing friends!

April 6th of 2011: Here I’m at the airport in Porto looking to my ticket to Praia (Cape Verde) and wondering what the hell I’m doing? I’m going to a country I don’t know, going to be away from my family and friends, away from the comfort of my home, I can only be crazy! Was I crazy? NO, well maybe a little bit, but some madness is what we need to go for our dreams. So I was chasing my dream and then it cross my mind that on the next day I would be in a beautiful country with white sand, blue water, palm tree and wonderful weather, what could go wrong?

Next day I was meeting the persons with who I was going to work for the next 12 months and I had very good welcome. Regarding the beautiful country I knew from the holiday post cards I quickly found out that I was in the wrong island, the tourism islands are Sal and Boa Vista and I was in Santiago so there was no white sand, no blue water and no palm trees. So I said to myself: ok, no problem, I’m not that big fan of going to the beach, so let’s keep going!

On the following day when I arrive to the office there was no electricity but everyone was acting quite normally, working with the laptops as long as the battery would allow them.

During my first 2 weeks in Cape Verde I have experienced more blackouts and lack of water than during my entire life however that did not seem to stress out no one else.

April 21st of 2011: Here I’m back home in Portugal after 2 weeks in Cape Verde thinking to myself I have survived. A lot of thoughts were crossing my mind that somehow was disturbing my focus. At the material level what I had found was a completely different reality from what I was used to in Portugal, I have found a country were a lot of basic things were missing or sometimes existed but not easy to get and usually at a very high price and I also found out that almost all of the luxuries are inexistence in Cape Verde. There were moments that I thought to myself: I’m going to make it, been away from the family? And for a brief moment the thought of not returning came my mind but then I thought: ok you might not have the white sand, the blue sea water, the palm trees, sometimes the electricity, sometimes the water at home, the shopping stores, the cinema, fast internet on your mobile phone, all the TV channels, but you have a challenging international project, excellent colleagues that are willing to absorb all the knowledge you can give them, colleagues that are relying on you so you cannot let them down and mostly important you can’t let down yourself by giving up, so start seen the positive side, you will have the opportunity to know more people, a different culture, excellent food, you will be able to appreciate the sea every day, etc..

So I started my endeavour supported by my wonderful family and surrounded by excellent professionals with who I’m sharing my knowledge but also from who I’m learning.

I have experienced a lot of rewarding moments not just because I got the feeling that I have forever changed someone but also because I have changed the way I look to the things now, I have a completely different perspective about what is really essential.

One of my big lessons is that happiness is not on what you have but in what you are and what you give out of yourself.

However it’s a country with a lot of missing things what I have witness was persons giving value to their health by doing sports and mainly not stressing for nothing, giving value to their family by keeping the balance between work and life and spending quality time with the family.

Jan 20th of 2012: Here I’m on my biweekly return home and doing this interesting retrospective thinking on the great moments in which I made the difference and also in the persons that inspired and supported me along this process. I must give a special thanks to Ian Forster because he was always concerned about the way I was feeling knowing that I was missing my family VERY VERY much and he gave me an unstoppable and unconditional support during the project that helped a lot to overcome the painful missing of my family and to keep the focus.

Herkko Lehdonvirta is the other person that I need to thank for all that I have learned from him and for how much he has appreciated and recognized my work. He is the CEO of Cabeólica been a very experienced manager and a natural pacifier. With him I learned to improve my first judgement in stressful situations and learn that even in extreme situations the hard way sometimes is not the only way to go, a more pacific approach can sometimes be as well effective.

For all the patience she had to hear me in those moments when I most missed my family and by the enthusiasm which she always enjoyed listening the knowledge I had to share my special thanks to Miriam Caetano.

My deep gratitude to my friends Ana and Miguel for all the support they gave to minimize my daughters sorrow by my absence, without you it would not be the same!

Now going back to the dream, 9 months have pass and you must be wondering what the developments are …

When I sold the dream to my family I have taken my first step to my dream: I had legally created my company! And some months later I also manage to motivate my husband to embrace this project.

Together we have developed the website of the company and sold the dream to our friend Miguel. We are now 3 engineers with the common dream: deliver the best results in the world, having fun doing it!

We are now in the phase of selling, selling and selling and we have already managed to sell a project that will allow us to hire our first employee of the many more that will come.

Other projects are already in the pipeline and I’m positive that step by step we will become thousands of engineers having a lot of fun!

So finally but not the least I need to give a very special thank to Matthew Duffy for been the very special dot that connected me to my dream. It was a very hard and long negotiation for this to happen and without Matthew creativity and excellent work that would not have been possible.

Matthew my very special thanks for helping my dream to come true and look forward for the day when you will start providing your clients PACman and PACwoman.

on the top of a nacelle

By the way my company is PACGER and I’m the first PACwoman!

Patricia Santos



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