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Over the Hill


Dear Reader,


For some reason my next birthday is hitting me differently. As if I've been randomly placed in a middle America corn field wondering, "how did I get here?" Obviously I know what's coming, but now that the big day is approaching, I feel like I'm an adult now. Maybe it's because I just bought my first house, I'm nearly finished with my novel draft, and I now spend my weekends getting my groceries delivered, and doing yard work and house chores. My life has taken a right turn into the direction of my dreams where goals and aspirations are aligning and the stresses of achieving are decreasing. It's not that I don't have stress, it's just different from how it has been for the past few decades. Instead of working hard all week and venting about it all night, I have smoother days that are busy, but my evenings are calm and relaxing at home without the worries of the day. And instead of the daily shame of not writing, not working on my craft, I'm working on my craft. 

In my house, I have my very own writing room filled with many books and art, and all the things that inspire me, including my beloved typewriter that my wife gave me a couple of years ago for Christmas. I've never had a writing room before, only space within a space where I do other things like watch TV or sleep. To have a space that's dedicated to my writing is like having an office or a cubicle that you go to, to, well, work. It feels like a sacred place now where I can look out my window and look up at the shading oak trees and sky high pines. A place where every inch of every corner has been treated with the love of a cleaning cloth, paint, and our hearts. We've put our whole hearts into this place after feeling like our hearts would be broken without it. But the great divine blessed us and now we give back to it. 

I've always loved the idea of gardening because my foster-grandparents had an enormous garden with green beans climbing up the fence, gigantic pumpkins in the fall, and chives that were regularly cut for baked potatoes. Every year I helped my grandma plant new tulip bulbs and rows of flowers that bloomed in the spring. And now that I have this beautiful space of my own, I want to make it the same as how I grew up, the essence of my childhood. It is the one place that I can look back on with joy and peace, and now that I can have it, now that it's here and attainable, my life feels so different. 

To have gone through a whole life focused on attaining goals, accomplishing one and moving on to the next. The life where nothing was quite good enough because there was so much more to go, has now turned into a life where all of those years of work have accumulated and now I live off the fruits of all that labour. Because where I'm at now - physically, mentally, spiritually - is not because I all of a sudden hit some proverbial button and things changed. This time and place has happened because of the years and years that I've put into my life. The years that I've put one foot in front of the other, persevered, and strived forward in the midst of immense struggle. This is the other side. 

While ten years ago I would have never imagined to be where I'm at, this is where I wanted to be even if it looks nothing like what I thought. It's a place where retrospect lives and I can look back and say, well you almost had it right, and, I wish I could have seen then what I see now, sort of thoughts. Because I sure had to go through a lot of suffering to get to this mental place of ease and relief. Nonetheless, If my path wasn't as rocky and jagged as it was, I wouldn't have a quarter of the gratitude that I have today, for everything, even for this big age that I'm coming into. It's the age that all those old ladies in roller sets warned me about, the time where the aches would come through and grey would multiply. It's the top of the hill that I've been climbing my whole life. I just hope that I'm not tumbling down the hill, and only moving forward with more ease than going uphill, because that's always the hardest part of the trail. 

I am so grateful for the people who have come, and gone, in my life. They've made me stronger, given me a different filter to look through, and provided knowledge that I'll carry with me forever. More importantly, I'm grateful for the few who have been with me through it all. The ones who have seen the rise, the fall, the growth, and the decay. I'm grateful for my rocks, the ones who inspire me and share their light with me, everyday. I'm so grateful for life. 

As I gear up for this year of 40 and beyond, I know that it won't be as smooth as butter, but I know that I'll respond differently to the burns. That I will carry the past with me like the china wear that collects dust year after year in the credenza. It'll get dated and become something that I've had for so long, but it'll pass through time until it sells at a garage sale, having lived inside of my many published works. That's all I can hope for right? A legacy of published books with my name imprinted on it. 

So I'm turning 40, who cares, right? As hard as it is today, I know that I'll get over it in a few short weeks. But as I write this, I also know that I can look back at everything that I've gone through, and I can look forward knowing that I have a whole life to live. One where I carry the retrospect of the past, and have a future full of possibilities and dreams yet to come. Because I haven't accomplished everything yet. So cheers to my birthday, cheers to dreams coming true, and celebrations for the next edition of my life. 



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Dear Reader,


It's a new year and I'm coming off the high of an incredible trip to Seattle. It was the first time I'd been back to my home state in nearly 22 years and it felt like a homecoming. The evergreen trees, cold winter breeze, and sights of Mt. Rainer opened its arms out to me in a warm welcome. Everything looked completely different with the addition of high rise buildings and developed landscapes, but the feelings were the same. Being surrounded by giant trees and hugged in between the mountain ranges was like an embrace from Mother Nature herself, opening up my eyes to a new year of possibilities, and luck. There are a million reasons why it's taken me so long to go back, but it really felt like time hadn't gone by at all. 


As my wife and I were preparing for our trip, purchasing winter jackets and hiking boots, we met an associate from REI who was from Seattle (well technically he was from Lake Stevens but when your from the Pacific Northwest you just say Seattle) and talked about his hometown, something about football, and how he goes back home at least once a year, and now that I've finally gone back, I can see why visiting often is important. 

We visited with my sister-friend who I've known since we were in 8th grade in junior high school. We made a visit to the apartment that I used to live in, took some photos in front of our highschool, and we ate dinner at an Italian restaurant that I worked at as a busser when I was fifteen. It was euphoric - being able to drive around and show my wife, who I've been with for almost 19 years, all the places from my childhood and the beauty of the state that I call home. I also did something I never would have expected me to do - I went to my foster mom's house. I didn't call before, I hadn't even been in contact with her for at least 14 years. I just drove to her house. I knew exactly where she lived and my expectation was to show my wife where I grew up. Like, this house is where my childhood lives. It's the place that holds my childhood memories through the good and the bad. And in this spontaneity, she was there. The nameplate was on the front porch where it always was, and the house, why do things seem so much bigger when you're small, was nearly the same. She didn't recognize me due to dementia, but she was welcoming, loving, had the same sense of humour she's always had, and was still smoking cigarettes.

As we walked around and peeked into my old bedroom, the room that was once a toy room where me and the daycare kids spent hours in our imagination, and took naps, I could still feel the love and childhood spirit that lived there. I could still see myself as the happy little girl. And when we went outside, although all the gardens were uprooted and the grass turned to brown, I could still see it when it was in its colourful splendour. There were tall flower beds, vines of vegetables and snap peas that climbed the fence. On the side of the house was Frick and Frack, two big bunnies that would eat greens and vegetables, and it was where I planted sunflowers that grew three times my height and then we baked the sunflower seeds and ate them on the back porch after roasting them in the oven. 

The other side of the backyard was divided with a fence that still stood, along with a little basketball court. The swing set and monkey bars were long gone, and the sand was replaced by weeds and overgrowth. But I could still see me running around with the other kids, playing basketball that I was horrendous at but still tried, all the time, and just having fun. Having a childhood. While most of the things were gone, the memories still lived there, the trees that stood before and watched over me were still swaying, the fence that protected me from the outside world was still strong, and the house where I was nurtured and supported, still stood. In the midst of my childhood excitement, I knew there was something else that I needed to do. 

My foster dad aka Papa had passed away long ago, but this woman who I referred to as my grandmother, the only grandmother that I know, she no longer remembered me. While I was only with her for a short period of time in her life, for me, those 4 years were the most important for me as a human being. I let her know that it was because of her that I'm a good person. That the years she raised me were the most important years of my life, and that because of her and Papa, I was doing good. And although I have so much more life to go and still so much more to do, I know that she doesn't. With the assistance of a walker, she showed us around. We looked at the pictures on the wall of her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. She talked about them, what they were doing, where they lived, and she opened up her photo album to find me. Although she didn't remember me, she still had me in her heart and we looked through the photo albums until my face appeared. I was happy to see my little kid face in her album because I don't have many pictures of myself from childhood, and it validated that I was important in their life too. 

She let me keep the pictures and told me that she had the memories and didn't need the photos to remind her. It was as if she was listening to her heart even though her brain didn't remember me, and I could feel that. With all of my heart I let her know how much she and papa meant to me, and how much I loved them both. She said she loved me too. As I walked out her front door, she demanded a hug from me, which was so like her, and I said goodbye. 

My entire trip to Washington was special. I was reminded of who I am and how far I've come, and I had an immense feeling of belonging, which I can now see has been missing in my life for a while. I felt like I knew everyone, that everyone was my friend, and that I knew the cities like the back of my hand, even though I used google maps to get around everywhere. Although I call Florida my home now, this trip was an awakening for me that I will continue to uncover, and I will have to make regular trips home to keep me, me. 

I'm looking forward to this new year, regardless of what happens amidst a recession and a Covid world, and I'm seeing it with new eyes. I'm renewed and ready to turn 40, which seems like a turning point into adulthood, if that makes any sense. I'm also ready to finish my debut novel which I've been working on for over 7 years, and continue to sit in my purpose as an author. No new year's resolution or goals, just a new sense of identity and purpose. And I wish the same to anyone else who reads this. 

Happy New Year!




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Being Defined by Your Work


Dear Reader,


A common motivational phrase that helps people understand who they are is: your work doesn't define you; your work is not who you are. But is that entirely true? I get it, what you do for a living is not the only thing that is worthy of praise in your life, you also have family and friends and hobbies that are outside of work. But what if your work is your life?


For probably millions of people, the day starts with thinking about work, followed by working all day, and ending the day with family time, but also talking about work and thinking about all the things that need to be done, said, and stressed over. While I get that there must be a balance, it's all too easy to get so wrapped up in achieving success, accomplishing goals, meeting deadlines, and climbing the corporate ladder, that without a doubt, the scale tips more to one side. 


This was especially true for me. 


While I was the person who would often quote that your work doesn't define you, I spent ten years of my life, day in and day out, strategizing, goal setting, working hard, succeeding, and showing the world that this little Asian woman was more than the stereotypes. I decided early on that I wanted to show people that Asian women can be leaders, they can be loud, they can be successful, and they can also be gay! 


In every interview, every coaching call, every monthly meeting, I was determined to prove my abilities and share with people the hard work that goes into being successful. I would go above and beyond my role, surpass weekly goals, and push everyone around me to level up, all while preaching about balancing your work and life. 


As a leader, I was obsessed with my role. 


The people in my life were in the same industry as me. In my downtime, I was around them and we were talking about work while our spouses sat in a corner talking about sports, rolling their eyes knowing that hours of drinking will go by and we'll still be talking about work. And even while I would be on vacation, I would stay connected with my team whether it be through group chats or social media. I was always corresponding with them.


And then the pandemic came along…


Like everyone else in the world, everything changed after the pandemic. Even the term pre-pandemic is becoming a thing to say when referring to the lives we had before masks and vaccines became the topic of conversation. The peak of my career happened just as Covid was detected in the U.S., and the downward slope materialized at a much greater descent than how it was all achieved. 


At an unfathomable rate, my whole team was practically torn apart from furloughs, layoffs, and restructuring of positions. I was part of the big changes that corporations had to make to appease shareholders, which eliminated my job position across the entire company, followed by taking a position that was quadruple the work for a few pennies more. Ultimately, the pressures that were being felt at the top of the pyramid were unbearable at the bottom, and in April of 2021, I decided to leave it all behind and call it quits. Although I already had an exit tragedy that included my published leadership book, my resignation was fueled by the duress of the global pandemic.


Lucky for me, I was able to transition smoothly into a working-from-home situation as my wife's admin and marketing coordinator for her commercial real estate team, and I had more time to write. It seems perfect, right? 


With all the extra time on my hands, the lack of a corporate thumb holding me down, and a pandemic that is keeping everyone indoors, something else happened to me that was unexpected. 


I started to grieve. 


Somewhere in the pile of success, ambition, covid 19, entrepreneur, writer, and wife was the realization that I had let my work define me for so long that I had forgotten about myself. I was consumed by my work, and without the work, I didn't know who I was anymore. Sure, I know what I'm capable of and I know that I've done great things in my life, but working without the immediate gratification, without the need to please, without the constant moving and motioning to the world that I AM HERE! I became utterly lost and consumed with grief. 


I've heard that when people who have worked in careers for thirty or forty plus years, upon retiring they end up dying of a heart attack or something, and then people say, well, they lived a good life or something like that. I haven't done any research to see whether there's any truth to this, but I can definitely empathize. 


When you let your work define you, what will you be when the work is done?


It feels like an impossible task - to not let your work define you. While I'm sure there are psychological answers out there, here's what I can tell you as someone who is not quite on the other side of the valley, but I'm getting closer.


Find what makes you happy and do a lot of that.


Whether it's working on cars, creating miniature houses, developing a non-profit organization, or being a great mom who makes dinner and dessert every day, having something outside of what pays the bills can help balance the scales. For me, I love writing and it's what I do as a hobby, and now, I make a living from it!


Get active and start moving your body.


Even though I haven't started doing this, I'm writing it because I know that it's the most important thing one could do for their life. After being in an industry where I was on my feet for eight-plus hours a day to then work from home and sit for eight-plus hours a day, I can say that the lack of movement has most likely contributed to my feelings of loss. So, get moving!


Keep learning and growing.


I've started to read more self-help and motivational books along with my novel reads, and it's giving me a bigger perspective on the world and tools to help me navigate the road ahead. Because the only constant in life is change, it's becoming even more important to learn how to adjust, adapt, and grow through the changes that are going to happen whether you want it to or not. 


Lean on someone who fills up your cup.


Lastly, although I have had to grieve the loss of people who are no longer in my life, a career I'm no longer in, and the teams that I no longer lead, I was also able to get closer to the one and only person that is always there for me. In a world where there seems to be so much noise, so many distractions, and the ever-consuming ridiculousness of scrolling on social media for hours, there is always at least one person in your life that you can count on. That person is my wife. 


I'm fortunate to have a partner in crime, a ride or die, a best friend, and my person to also be my wife. She's stuck it out with me on my emotional roller coasters and has continued to root for me even when all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and stay under the comforter. Whether your person is your spouse, your friend, a family member, or even your coworker, make sure you spend time with them. 


You only need one person to fill up your cup when it's empty and depleted of all resources. And it is through this support that you can hold on and find out and become the person that everyone else knows you are, but you haven't quite seen for yourself. Now is the most important time to dig your feet into the ground and plant your roots. Work on not letting anyone or anything rip you from your foundation and start building all the branches that are uniquely you.


Even if you are in a place where your work is defining you, just start to find all the other things that define you too. Eventually, you will get to a place where you will know your value without needing anyone else to tell you about it. And in that place, you will know that you are not alone, and there are countless people who are cheering you on, including me.





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Cultural Identity


Dear Reader,


The brief history of the Teochew people is that they are from South China and migrated to Southeast Asia because they were under attack by the Mongolians, who were barbarians that would pillage and plunder villages, forcing people to leave their homes. From what I read, there are conflicting views on whether the Teochew people were originally from the region of Chaoshan or they came from the north and inhabited the region. This debate seems to be a common one, but I'm not all too sure why it matters.


Nevertheless, the Teochew people are mostly populated in Singapore and can also be found in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and parts of Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States. They are a culture of people with unique traditions and language, and depending on where they migrated and settled they acclimated into their new homes.


Like many Asian families who move to foreign lands, the Teochew try to keep their language going with the present and coming generations in addition to speaking the native languages of the places they live. It appears to be a culture that is deeply rooted in their ancestry, and they're not the same as "just" Chinese. It's ethnic diversity that I know matters, but I'm just still so new to it all.


It has been a bit strange learning about a culture within Chinese culture. Not once in my entire life have I ever done any research on Chinese culture. The only thing I've ever really known is their food, which is probably more American than Chinese. Growing up in Seattle as a child, I always enjoyed being in Chinatown, eating the food, and being surrounded by Asian people. Since I didn't grow up around a lot (or any) of Asian people, it's comforting when I am around them, even to this day.


But now that I know that I'm part Chinese, it's slowly opening this door to a world that is much bigger than the world I lived in before finding out my ancestry.


My whole like I saw myself as Cambodian and Japanese. I have eaten dishes from these countries and have learned how to make a few native dishes too. I've dabbled in research here and there about the cultures and felt connected because I knew my blood was connected. I could imagine my ancestors standing behind me and guiding me on my path of life, and over the years behind the chair, I have "bonded" easily with Cambodian and Japanese people.


But now, now that I know that I'm Chinese, that is a HUGE culture. I mean, they're a dominant force in the world economy and make up a large percentage of the world's population! And, for my entire life, I've been telling Chinese people that I'm not Chinese, and then have to endure their utter disappointment.


Am I the only one?


It makes me wonder if there are other Asian people in the world who discovered hidden Asian ancestries that they never knew they had, only to feel confusion riddled with an identity crisis.


I don't know what any of it means and I certainly don't know what it means to be culturally Chinese. But what I can say is, it does feel kinda nice to know that I'm now part of an even larger community. And the next time a Chinese restaurant manager asked me if I'm Chinese, I can say yes (followed by a long story of how I just found out and that I'm also Japanese and Cambodian).


The other thing that I feel confident about is the fact that regardless of my cultural identity, I am and always will be an Asian-American woman, first and foremost.

Thicker Than Water


Dear Reader,


I've never been interested in doing a DNA test from sites like Ancestry.com or 23andMe. My background is that my dad was from Cambodia and my mom is half Japanese (Okinawan) and half Irish, so what else is there to know? And every time someone has asked me "where are you from?" my answer is always the same… Texas. And, I'm half Cambodian, a quarter Irish, and a quarter Japanese.


Low and behold, my wife got me a DNA kit for Christmas, so I said, "why the hell not," and spit a good amount of saliva into a little plastic tube and shipped it off via USPS. During that processing time, I started to uncover a little bit of information on Ancestry.com and searched for information on my parents in hopes of just creating a little family tree, which is basically what the site is for - to grow your family tree. They have all kinds of records – birth, death, immigration, marriage, every kind of record possible, for the United States. To say the least, there isn't much information on Asian people coming into the United States, other than a boarding pass from when my grandmother came from Okinawa in the '50s.


Uncovering the little information that I could, it left me feeling, meh. While I have two brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, and all the rest of them, I don't have any contact with any of them. Not even my parents. It's a complicated story that may or may not be in a future blog, and a situation that still leaves me a bit lonely, especially during the holidays, because I don't have immediate family. Fortunately, I do have amazing people in my life that I call framily, and I have an incredible wife and mother-in-law, so I'm not actually alone, just wishing I had more family to connect with. Grief has many faces.


Nevertheless, yesterday I got the test results back.


There were many, many shocks. I mean, I'm literally shook to my core because I was not expecting the results that I got. While I can confirm that my parents are in fact my parents (I was thinking about worst-case scenarios), I'm not what I've always believed that I am.  


You have to understand something. Asian-American people are ALWAYS asked, "where are you from," and it's because people want to know what nationality we are. I get it, it's not necessarily rude to ask, it's just annoying to always have to talk about it, especially when I'm American, first and foremost. Also, Chinese people always do the same thing, and they're usually very disappointed when I say that I'm not Chinese. Or at least I think they're disappointed?


The fact of the matter is, I'm Chinese.


My DNA says that 37% of it is from Southern China. THIS IS CRAZY! I'm Chinese. For my entire adult life thus far and probably some moments in my childhood, I have been telling people that I'm NOT Chinese, and I am.


The other thing is, I'm not Irish. I'm Scottish.


My whole identity has now been blown open! Furthermore, after contacting a cousin that I have in Cambodia, she confirmed that our grandfather was half Chinese. HALF CHINESE! I was thinking that the Chinese probably came from hundreds of years ago, but no! My grandfather! It's crazy and I'm still processing it. But here's what else I'm uncovering about myself…


I've never really had family around. I grew up an only child, was in foster care, and didn't have any relatives growing up. When people talk about their family this and their family that, I cringe and hope the conversation will move in a different direction so that I don't have to stand awkwardly and uncomfortably tell people that I don't really have immediate family. It's a strange position to be in, especially being Asian because that culture is known for having tight-knit families where multiple generations live together and everyone fully respects the mother and father, regardless of how old or young they are.


But when I got the results, I wished that I could talk to my immediate family about it. I wished that I could share the shocking results with my brothers or ask my parents more about their backgrounds. I wished I could hear stories or gain even more information about my DNA truths. And I got caught in a sort of whirlwind of emotions and broke down in sadness and barely slept last night because my thoughts were swirling around, memories were deceiving me, and I just felt sad.


When I got up this morning, I talked to my wife about it, and she gave me advice that I instantly felt resistance to. She said that I should reach out to people – the aunts, the cousins, and whoever else so that I can hear more of the story. She hates to see me upset, and she even felt bad for getting the DNA test for me, but she thought that it would be good for me to see my ancestry.


Needless to say, I took her advice and reached out to the cousin who told me our grandfather was half Chinese, and I also connected with a relative who popped up on Ancestry.com who shares 15% of DNA with me and is listed as 1st – 2nd cousin.


After finding out that she is indeed my 1st cousin (she is the daughter of my mom's brother), I also found out that we're only about two years apart (1 year, 6 months, 21 days) and she only lives 2 hours away from me.


I'm shook, yet again. I thought that maybe she was younger and in some state far away. I thought that she probably was going to talk about her big-ass family and just see my message, say hi, chat a little bit, and then not chat for a couple of years. I didn't think that it would be a big thing, but it turns out, we have a lot in common.


We chatted all morning, became friends on Facebook, stalked each other's Facebook, and talked in a way that seemed like we've always known each other. It was an instant connection to start chatting with her, and I know that we JUST started connecting, but I feel good about it. She's just as excited about meeting me as I am, and we share very similar interests and hobbies, we have similar backgrounds and pain bodies (yes, we got deep already), and we seem to have very similar personalities (based on texts, alone). We're already planning on meeting each other in a few weeks.


Wow. Things can change instantly.


I don't know where this will go. I don't know what doors are opening and what I'll uncover as I tap into this Chinese heritage that I have. But what I do know is, I have a cousin! and that is a major blessing in my life. It's what I needed, and maybe it's what she needed too.


What I'm confident about and what I know to be a truth is, when we're in our darkest moments, those sad moments where no one sees your tears, there is hope. There is light. You can't see it because your eyes are closed when you're crying and the tears blur your sight, but there is a light in the dark valleys because life happens for us to learn and grow, it's not happening to us as punishment or anything like that. So, after being in a valley for a day, I'm a testament to the fact that it gets better. Even better than I would have ever expected. 


Maybe blood IS thicker than water?




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Author Update


Dear Reader,


Since publishing my first book, my personal life has been chaos. With this pandemic still in full affect and I live in Florida, well, being a salon manager hasn't been the most fulfilling job. But, the one thing that has kept me grounded and at peace is knowing that I am a published author and that people are still buying my book.


I had an incredible book launch party via zoom in July and nearly 30 raving fans attended! It was not only good to see friends and converse with them, it was great to be able to have an official launch where I could talk about my journey, my book, and what else I'm doing. I felt like the author that I am and it was a much-needed ritualistic necessity; like a baby shower or a bachelorette party. I'm thankful for all those that attended and for all the love and support I received. It's even more important now during this pandemic that we lift each other up and support one another.


Through all of this chaos I'm learning a lot about myself (even though I'm in my mid-thirties) and I'm still very much evolving, especially as a writer. Its funny how in one moment you can feel like you know everything, and in the next moment you're reminded that you haven't the slightest clue what's going to happen. The only thing that is for sure is that change will continue to happen and we have to adapt to it. I'm staying grounded in my writing and using my passion as a way to escape my lived world.


Since my writing has to adapt and evolve, my focus has too. If you're reading this, I hope that you'll follow me as I leap into uncharted territory. Into writing places that I've never ventured into and into a realm that I've never touched. I'm tapping into my roots and into my heritage and will be writing more about the Asian American experience. This pandemic has uprooted people's emotions on systemic racism, and racism has been rearing its ugly head because everyone's got a camera. And I've come to realize that I have my own opinions and perspectives that I have to share, especially about being Asian American.


As I transition my writing from salon manager to the inner Asian American, I hope to uncover more of me. Leaderly Life was just a surface situation, a step, the tip of the iceberg of the writing that is really within me. And while I will always love my first, my second is now in my sight. Wish me luck!




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Post Book Launch


Dear Reader,


It has been 10 days since I published my book and while I haven't sold millions yet, there have been a few people who are already posting on social media about it and giving my book great shout outs. I was really worried at first because I haven't received my author copies, yet other people are receiving theirs. This is due to Covid19 slowdowns and authors all over are experiencing the same dilemma, which makes me feel a little better about it because I know I'm not alone. Fortunately, those who have received my book are posting little videos about it and I can visually see that it looks great! I worried that it would have a dark line down the middle or the printing would be smudged, but everything looks great.


Since I'm a 'self-publisher' I'm also learning a lot about this world and navigating KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and I'm seeing that my expectations do not meet what they are offering. I would like to be able to see how many people are purchasing my book per day, but I can only see how many books are being shipped per day. With it being that way, I have only sold six books even though I have marketed it to about three-hundred, plus social media. So, while these numbers are a little daunting, I'm still moving forward with my marketing strategies and getting this gem out into the world! This journey will test me in all the ways I expect and don't expect it too.


The next thing that's been interesting is that while I planned on launching this book in the summer, I was also planning on launching my YouTube channel at the same time. Since I published early, I sort of forgot that I needed to actually make YouTube videos, and last week I published a welcome video, but I need to learn more about video editing. The videos that I have contain content but do not have any visuals, and it is going to be a big learning curve for me to figure out. So that's a hurdle that I'll need to jump over, gracefully or not.


Overall, I'm still proud of myself for making it this far. I've struggled my whole life with wanting to be an author, and now that I am, I'm doing a great job. Self-publishing takes work and is like having another full-time job and I'm very happy that I'm pursuing my dreams. After this adventure, I will have the experience and every other book will be a bit easier.




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Book Launch Day

One thing is for sure, life never goes according to plans. Even the most well thought out business plan has to constantly be edited and dates extended. In my case, I planned for my book to be launched in July and then Covid19 happened and I was able to get ahead. And today, I published my book for the whole world to purchase! I'm having so many emotions, but I'm mainly just proud of myself. I've worked hard for a long time, and now it's here for the world to see. I know that this is only the first of many, and the first of the beginning and I hope that I can help people to help other people.


At the beginning of the year, I promised myself that I would take my writing seriously and begin to write and publish – getting my writing out there for other people to read. And I've done just that. Once you decide with all of your heart and mind that you want to achieve something, nothing will stop you, and in fact, the universe will move mountains to help you achieve your goals. The only thing that will stop you, is you. So get out of your way and begin a life that you've always dreamed of.


This book marks the starting point for so much more to come. Leaderly Life is a brand that will have merchandise available for purchase for leaders. The brand representative that Leaderly Life is a way of being and being leaderly happens in all aspects of your life, not just in the j-o-b. I'll also be launching an online leadership course in the fall (planning at least) and I will be offering one-on-one and group Life Coaching, as well as, business consulting and speaking engagements.


My mission is to help people live in alignment with their purpose. I believe that we are all here on this earth to accomplish great things whether it's being a mother, an entrepreneur, an athlete, or all of those things. Success is not about the destination, it's about the satisfaction of walking the journey. It is the joy of living a life of passion that is filled with an abundance of happiness. Success is whatever you dream it to be and it has no size restrictions. The only restrictions you give it are the ones that are in your mind. And those can be changed if you are open to it.


I hope you will follow me on my journey. Subscribe to this website and follow me on social media. Feel free to reach out, comment, and ask questions.

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A Writers Life

Dear Reader,


Writing has been that one thing that calls me every day, leaving a voicemail in my mind, reminding me that I haven't paid attention to it, haven't picked up the pen and put it to paper, and telling me how much it needs me. It is a daily fight that I have with my excuses that tell me all the reasons why I can't do it - I'm too tired. I already love what I'm doing. I don't need to write, no one is going to read my work so why bother. I don't have time to write… and the conversation has been going on like this, every day, for over a decade. And while I have written many things (I have binders and notebooks FULL of poetry, novels, and essays), I've continued to not make a big deal about my writing. Maybe it's because I didn't give it as much value as my career in salon management, or maybe it was all of my insecurities, or maybe both. Nevertheless, while I have always considered myself a writer, I hadn't considered the importance of being an author or being a writer who writes with the purpose of publishing. At least, not until the beginning of the new year 2020.


           I was completely drained from the hectic holiday season in the salon and was becoming impatient and pessimistic about the world, which is very opposite of my 'normal' character. And after having a heated discussion with my wife about my unusual behavior, she pointed out that I spent the majority of my time helping to fill up other people's cups, and she felt that I needed to find ways to fill up my cup. While at first, I wanted to disagree and argue that my behaviors were about all the things that were going wrong, she was right. So, I started to listen to motivational speakers like Tony Robbins, Les Brown, and Maya Angelou. I began listening to their words, every morning and even listened to the same videos over and over again. Their words filled up my cup, and as a matter of fact, their words had my cup overflowing with energy and motivation that made me commit to serving what I knew in my heart was my purpose of helping others through my writing, and very quickly I went from having all the excuses to getting my book off the ground.


           What happened with me seeking out my own 'life coaches' is that I was able to push away the brain fog and see the big picture, and be in alignment with my passion and purpose. Since the new year, I've created the business platform for Leaderly Life, completed the editing and book design, and now I'm marketing the launch of my first book! Sometimes I can be hard on myself and not give myself credit for the work that I do. I tend to bulldoze through to-do lists and not sit back to look at my accomplishments. This makes me a huge hypocrite because I always tell my team to make sure they celebrate their little accomplishments. But, sometimes it's easier to give advice than take it, right?


           Needless to say, I'm very happy with where I am at right now and feel very accomplished with what I've done. And now that I'm already in the book launch faze, I'm looking into what I will write next. Because now, I'm a writer who publishes. A writer that wants the world to read my work. And I hope that you, the reader, will enjoy it as much as I enjoy crafting it all. Because all of my work comes from my lived experience of this crazy thing called life.





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Why I created Leaderly Life

I started Leaderly Life while I was in college studying business. I had left management and was just behind the chair, discouraged that I had failed at being a salon manager, and determined to learn more about the topic and do better my next time around. I had failed not only because I quit. But I had failed because I had made no positive difference in the lives of the people I was serving as their leader. I took this to heart. While I consider myself to have a high level of common sense and am also a friendly person who can make quick connections with people, I felt like I didn't have all the tools that I needed to help stylists succeed. I had a blueprint on how I was successful in my career, but everyone's version of success is measured differently. Everyone not only beats to their own drummer, but they also have different dreams, desires, and drivers that make them do, or not do things. And when I decided to go to college, well into my thirties, I just needed answers – I needed to know how to impact salon professionals. Fortunately, I picked an incredible college (or it picked me) that opened my eyes to this whole world that I didn't know existed because you don't know that you don't know something until you learn about it. And what I learned in college was leadership. More importantly, I learned how important leadership is for our entire world. That the world is run by more people who have titles but lack leadership, and also run by micro-managers who think more about the processes that need to be done versus the influence that can be made.


Ask anyone if they've ever had a horrible boss and every person who has had work history will tell you their own story of a boss who didn't care about them, who made them feel worthless and only gave them horror stories to tell. While I've had my fair share of horrible bosses, I've mostly had bosses who just didn't know any better. They, and myself, were never educated on the possibilities that they could do more than just bark orders. And it's to no fault of their own because managers are just doing what their managers tell them to do, while those managers are doing the same. I once heard that leadership trickles down from the top, but what about the effects of the "telephone game" where once the message gets to the last few people, the story is completely different. My point is, leadership cannot come from the top and trickle down, it has to come from the bottom and branch out like a sturdy oak tree. Leadership for the manager means you are teaching others to be leaders too. You are showing people how a leader speaks, acts, and engages with everyone. Because a leader is more than a title, it is a way of being, intending to make great changes in the lives of others.


The other big chunk of things that I learned in college was that business is business no matter what kind of business it is, and the whole world is one giant business. Everything that is happening can be seen as a business. Therefore, the implications mean that every manager, and every person, has a responsibility to be a leader in their own lives. With this leadership ability, a business can flourish and be successful even through failure. Leadership means that even if you fail, you get back up and you do it again, just with little tweaks here and there so you don't make the same mistake twice. My goal with Leaderly Life is to teach this. The principle idea that leadership is not only good for business, it's good for the greater good of the world. Living a Leaderly Life means living a successful and abundant life that is full of your potential. One of my favorite motivational speakers, Les Brown, says that the graveyard is the richest place in the world because it's filled with hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled. I'm paraphrasing, but the point he makes is grand. Do you want to take your hopes and dreams to the grave? When you're lying on your death bed, what do you want to say as you reflect on your life? Don't you want to feel good about all of your

accomplishments with the things you did, the words you spoke, the relationships you made?


Leaderly Life is all of those things for me. I want to look back on my life and see how many lives I was able to help and how many leaders found their potential and helped countless others. I want to see the domino effect of leadership going on and on for decades. And while my writing can seem utopian and fantasy-like, Leaderly Life is concrete. I've created a leadership guide that managers can utilize in their business and I'll have an online leadership course for those that want to dive deeper into leadership. I'm also creating Leaderly Life as a brand where I'll have merchandise for people to purchase and have as a tool and reminder of their true potential to have a leaderly life. Because the possibilities are endless. You can pave whatever road you want and make it however long you want. And I hope that Leaderly Life is just the beginning of your leadership journey.


I hope you'll join me on my path of living a Leaderly Life. 



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