I write this as I sit here in Whistler, British Columbia, smiling and filled to the brim with gratitude, enjoying a panoramic view of a snow-covered lake and horizon, birthing this book for you while learning how to snowboard on my toes!
I am living my YOLO (You Only Live Once) Life. Living out what I dare to dream.
As I was looking for inspiration to start this section, I got distracted cleaning up my phone. I was clicking through my files and one of the recordings started
to play. I let it continue in the background.
It was a six-month-old call with my coach, a petite Asian woman whom I had hired two years previously. When I was introduced to her, she was in her early 20s and already running a successful six-figure coaching business online, making an impact doing what she loved and traveling wherever she wanted. I wanted that business lifestyle.
The weird thing was, it was the call during which I declared that I wanted to write a book and make it fun. When my coach asked me, “What would that look like?” I said it would look like snowboarding in Whistler and writing my book at the same time because I am committed to fun, freedom, and inspired connection.
And here I am, once again, fulfilling my dreams.
The truth is, I love my life. I live a life that seems too good to be true.
And it is true.
It has been over two years since I left my cushy advertising and marketing job to pursue my passion. I have lived in four countries and I coach clients on five continents. It humbles me every day to support incredible women and men as they expand into their fullest selves, pursuing their dream lives, loves, and meaningful careers.
In addition to living the life of an international businesswoman connected to an international community of people fully living their lives and sharing their unique gifts, I am experiencing the greatest love with the greatest love story, which caught me completely by surprise!
As part of my YOLO Lifestyle, I went to Shanghai American School’s high school reunion, and the magical reunion love story played out. I fell deeply in love with a guy I had dated when I was 16 while living in Shanghai. After ‘hating’ him for more than a decade because of how things had ended, we picked up where we left off: with a fight over a misunderstanding. This time, surprisingly, with all the growth we had experienced, we were able to talk things out and deeply see and hear each other for what seemed like the first time! My zest for adventure, freedom, and growth was also matched, so much so that my previous idea of having a boyfriend in every country came to an end and I chose him. Three months later, I moved all of my things out of
Singapore and now live in Hong Kong. Two months later, I flew to British Columbia to
snowboard and write this book and he is 100% supportive of my going for my dreams.
How did my life get so good? Well, it had to or I was going to die. My unhappiness was literally killing me.
I have a secret that I’ve kept for 10 years. Not even my parents or past boyfriends who lived with me knew it. Do you see how every part of you wants you to win?
From dream job to uncertainty and healing
I still remember the evening when I was doing overtime earlier in my career at one of the best corporate marketing and advertising firms. I was staring into the toilet bowl in one of the private bathrooms, expertly and silently letting out what was inside of me, then feeling a sense of relief and shame after.
My 10-year on-and-off top-secret bulimia was back. And this time, I knew why. I wasn’t happy anymore. Despite the glamor, prestige, and regional leadership opportunities with the biggest client in our firm, my heart yearned for more meaning. And the worst thing: I knew I was capable of more but was too afraid to make drastic changes.
I was beyond angry. I was so defeated. My health was getting worse.
I said to myself, “I worked on this for 10 years, countless hours poured into therapy, and even worked with a Qi Master closely for five years, and this STILL isn’t gone?”
“How am I to live the life I dream of if I can’t even control this part of my life?”
“Why?!” I asked myself.
Immediately, a wave of realization washed over me. “Yep, I know,” I sighed.“I have to do more of what I love.”
I had begun writing my YOLO Happy List in 2011, and by 2014, I was fully taking on what made me happy in my hours away from work.
It was in this moment of self-reflection that it became clear: when I was traveling and doing what I loved, bulimia wasn’t an issue. But when I was back home, so was the bulimia. So, more YOLO Happy List it was. Completing things on my list kept me going.
I didn’t have the guts to take the plunge at that point. I need more certifications and confidence, I thought, despite the four coaching training courses, countless certifications, a Master’s of Science in Innovation, and numerous personal transformation courses I had invested in as a result of this quest to heal.
I have to change myself and solve this behavior before I can shift others, I commanded myself.
Have you ever had an addiction or important reason that’s standing in your way, front and center, preventing you from doing something greater?
Since the next thing on my bucket list was to live my YOLO Lifestyle making money doing what I loved, and my biggest obstacle was internal, I did everything I could to create the most supportive setting possible for myself as I embarked on that journey. The name of the game was to be healthy.
While I continued to work on six-figure deals for my corporate job by day, behind the scenes my entire life was changing. I went from no exercise to going to the gym religiously and waking up at 6:30 every single morning before work (mostly yoga in the morning and fitness in the afternoon) and from sleeping at random times to going to bed before 11:30pm. And, of course, I changed my diet to be healthy breakfast and lunch items with clean food for dinner. It was awesome. I finally decided to take responsibility for my life and make the changes that would create the best version of me!
But that wasn’t enough.
When push came to shove, even after achieving that flow (which lasted about six months when I was reinvigorated at work as well), there was still an underlying buzz of anxiety whenever I had quiet time to myself. There was a huge disconnect between my ideal lifestyle and where I was at: the gap was too big and I needed to either adjust my expectations, or go for it.
I decided to not decide.
Bulimia persisted, increasing in intensity and frequency, nagging me to take care and align with my core. It was as if it were saying: you’re stressed, you don’t even like this despite doing everything you can to make this an exciting path, there is more work to be done.
So, over the next few months, while we executed marketing campaigns across seven countries on a large scale, on the inside I searched for an answer to solve my health problems!
It’s been a 10-year journey, so, at that point, I had probably already tried everything–from SSRIs, to psychology, to eastern medicine.
One afternoon in Singapore, after getting out of my sensory deprivation tank at a float club, I was introduced to the potential healing present in plant medicines. After researching it for a few months, I was on my way to the Amazon to study with shamans
on the spiritual side of purpose, cleansing, and transformation.
While it completely shifted me in so many ways, my bulimia was still with me.
Even after all this deep work on myself!
At this point I was desperate.
I was out of options.
I accepted defeat, shoved it to the back of my mind. Continued my life accepting that it may just pop in and out.
Eight months went by and I still hadn’t made my move to freedom. At that point, there was a reorganization at work and I was given an opportunity to choose from several departments where I would like to progress next in my career. I couldn’t choose. The opportunities were great, and I should have been excited, yet no department felt right.
I tried really hard to convince myself to love what should have been my dream opportunity according to the life I had expected to be living based on my upbringing. But I just couldn’t make myself want it. My body wasn’t going to let me sell out. Nothing felt right about staying. When I kept delaying the decision, interviewing with one department after the next and asking my boss if there were any other options, my boss finally had to be the one to say, “If you don’t choose, there won’t be a place for you here anymore.”
So in January 2015, my work gave me notice. As soon as I got the notice, my colleagues started dreaming my new life with me. Go to Spain. Build a lifestyle that is based on what you love. I wrote a list of the five things I love. When I showed it to
my friends, they asked, “What if you did them all together?”
(Another funny thing: I found that note when I moved from Singapore and I AM DOING THEM ALL AT ONCE!)
I felt more love from my colleagues than ever before. It was an amazing transition. It was really scary because everything before me was uncertain. But my colleagues could see it in me; they knew I had been dreaming of being my own boss, leading my life. It’s funny looking back. When people commented on how amazing it was that I fit everything into my schedule, I thought it was just achieving “work-life balance”.
A huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I knew doors were still open for me, I was approached by recruiters and other leaders in my network with incredible opportunities, but I knew the company I was with was great, they were not the problem. I needed a bigger challenge, I needed to be free, to make an impact and leave a legacy that I am passionate about. And, I wanted to begin now.
Sharing this with my friends and family was hard. My dad never understood why I would give up the corporate career I had worked so hard to get so far in at such a young age. Eventually I just said, “I just want to do my own thing.” No matter how hard it was to leave, my body wasn’t going to let me stay. My health had to come first, but I couldn’t tell him. I just had to do it for myself, without anyone knowing the real why.
At 9:20pm on the evening of my last day of work, I began my journey to Spain, Amsterdam, and Portugal.
The moment that changed everything
I was in Valencia, Spain, in the middle of a private plant medicine meditation retreat that I had spent months researching. I made a deal with myself; I set the strongest of intentions. I was here to get better, once and for all. I was on my own, deep in the process, when I met what I believe was the core of my being, or as some call it, my “
It was a recognition, a face to face of understanding, a moment of acknowledgement.
With the deepest and clearest connection I’ve ever felt with myself, I asked, “Am I ready to let bulimia go?”
From the depths of my tummy I sensed movement bubbling out of my throat, “Yes.”
A voice that I wasn’t controlling, but I knew so well, said it. And from that place of knowing, I felt complete clarity and unconditional patience and love from within myself, and I knew straight away: this is it. There’s no turning back.
When I said yes to me, the world said yes to me
From this place of calmness, I fully committed to creating a lifestyle and business with the intention of it completely aligning with my inner being (this wise, maybe even old, peaceful woman)!
Bulimia never came back.
I never let it.
I rode on that unstoppable courage to match my passion with action, turning my deepest desires into a fun reality. This inspired action saved my life. It gave me my freedom back.
Maybe you can relate. Is there something big and yucky that’s holding you back from living your truest, wildest, and most invigorating life?
So, why am I writing this book? Honestly, this book kept knocking on my mind’s door!
The first time it came to me was when I was creating my You Only Live Once (YOLO) Happy List in 2011. I said, “Fine, let's put you down here to be done by age 40” (more on YOLO Happy List in upcoming chapters). However, I crossed off so many things on that list last year that the next scary thing on the list was writing this book. More importantly, at the end of my 2016 Freedom Success Formula group coaching programs, my clients from all over the world inspired my team and me to take this work to another level, and to share it with as many people as we can.
Today, this journey has taken on a movement, reaching thousands of people on six continents through my talks, workshops, group programs, and private sessions. I help people to connect within so that their bodies don’t need to rebel.
As more people transform their lives from struggle and mediocrity to full alignment of heart and career, more momentum happens, and it’s been an honor for our programs to be picked up by over 300 media outlets, including ABC, NBC, and FOX.
I create the setting and space for powerful transformations. I invite ambitious people to step into their core and take actions to create businesses and careers that fund their lifestyles so that they can have more time and money doing what they love.
I call this the YOLO (You Only Live Once) Life and Business Style. The system is called Freedom Success Formula. And in this book, it is my intention to share the culmination of the last decade of this work.
My 25-year-old coach did it. My 60+ year old coach did it. I did it. I have had a lot of clients who have done it.
Is it time for you to do it?
WANT MORE? See how YOU can accomplish YOUR You Only Live Once Lifestyle and Business here!