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Inspired Coaching and Sponsorship

This week I had an opportunity to be featured on Andy Wang's Inspired Money podcast:

I was a last-minute addition to the panel, and I was able to enthusiastically say "yes!"

I want to share the journey to this event, as I think it's very important to surface the unsung heroes in the background who empowered and enabled all of this.

I live in the United States, which tends towards an individualistic view of success. We attribute it to someone's innate abilities, talent, and luck. However, I do not live in a vacuum. My family poured their time, values, money, and knowledge into me. My experiences and my own unconscious decisions led me to certain limiting beliefs about what's possible in my life. I was influenced by the Harvard Business Review article entitled The Sponsor Effect, which mentioned women needing to work 3 shifts to have it all: work, home, and networking. I made it a point to make time and space for networking and participating in professional organizations. This required my partner's support, particularly because we had a newborn at the time. I attended a Women's Trailblazer panel sponsored by NAAAP: National Association of Asian American Professionals. Through that, I met Wendy Kim who I saw I wanted as a personal coach.

I have never been able to spend money easily on myself. To hire Wendy, I consulted my partner, my mom, and my friends about doing it. It was a large sum: $15,000. That could have been a roof, a rainy day fund, a vacation, the beginnings of my child's college fund. I spent it to chase a dream, a dream she unearthed from me: to write a book, to have a loving and easy home life, to have close friendships, and to have time freedom. That was incredibly compelling: how much would you pay to have those things? They seem like things money can't buy. Well, I see now that I bought those things that day.

I have all of those things under my belt today, and they were merely a dream at the time. The decision to invest in myself, in choosing Wendy as the coach for me, in having my partner on board for this investment... all of that while standing in a point in my life where I felt like I just had to survive this period of my life and snatch glimpses of joy where I could find them... in hindsight now I can see how incredible the amount of courage it took on my part and my partner's part to do it. Facing the fear that we just got duped, that we just threw away a ton of money on something made up and not within our grasp. It had the potential to be the biggest mistake of our lives. We chose to trust, and go all in.

Let me tell you about the power of that investment, and why it needed to be huge... I was paying for weekly one hour coaching. I would receive "homework" assignments to perform small actions in service of my goals, without necessarily knowing the point or value of those exercises. If I hadn't invested so much money, I don't know if I would have made the effort to do the assignments between meetings. I don't know if I would have been driven by the idea that I had to make it "worth it." I HAD to get my money's worth. It's like when I was younger and we'd go to all-you-can-eat buffets and we'd be strategic about eating all the seafood and expensive offerings and avoiding cheap things like rice and fries, all so we could eat our money's worth. If I hadn't done those assignments, I would not have changed in the fundamental ways that led me to producing the very results in my life that I paid for.

Wendy kept my goals in her mind's eye. She addressed every dream I had, and she brought her project management skills to the fore, keeping me accountable and removing blockers. At one point, a blocker was my partner. Another, child care logistics. Another, my own lack of confidence or courage. Another, my laziness or my "meh" factor.

Thanks to Wendy, I was able to write my book: The Ocean Accepts All Rivers: Life and Money Lessons from my Taiwanese American Upbringing. From there, she acted as my bridge builder. She found Andy Wang's Inspired Money podcast and recommended me to him for that first interview. She coached me to respond in a timely and enthusiastic manner so I could make a good impression. A hungry impression. I wasn't confident in my own knowledge and media presence. She gave me a chance to practice those things - to be intimidated and do it anyway.

Thanks to Wendy, I applied for a new job with a $20k pay increase, and to my surprise, I got it. That story is a blog article unto itself, and it paid for Wendy's services such that I received more than I paid for her.

Along the way, she also connected me to other collaborative opportunities along the way, all of which produced wealth in my life. My personal finances coaching business exists because she encouraged it, and sent me my first clients. First she coached me, then she sponsored me in tangible ways. I get to live the life I have today because she has become a lifelong cheerleader, coach, sponsor, mentor, and friend. In so seeing her in these ways, it opened up the ability to see my family, friends, and colleagues for their contributions too. This deepened my appreciation of my network and am able to see opportunities for others where I can be the bridge builder.

I often tell people that who they see is not who I always was. I was able to say "yes" to Andy Wang a second time from a new perspective: one I've grown into. And in executing on the opportunity, I get to appreciate how far I've come and how much Wendy Kim means to me all over again.

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