Sometimes, it takes reading a simple, positive quote that will make your day feel lighter and inspire you to keep on hustling. If it were not for these daily affirmations, I won’t be the positive, happy person I am today.
I’ve been known to be an optimistic person, but I wasn’t always like this. Before, I was a very anxious person with extremely low confidence. I had many cycles of doubt and uncertainty about myself, my skills, and my work. I was also very negative towards myself and constantly beating myself up about not being good enough and that I should simply to stick to my lane.
A few years ago, I made the change to collect positive quotes for me to read through every morning. This was a gentle reminder to myself to stay optimistic throughout the day, no matter how tough and hard it gets. I am not positive 100% of the time and I do experience other emotions like a normal human being, but I try not to dwell on those emotions too long. I do my best to stay focused and keep moving forward.
Being happy is an investment – to you and for other people. Happy people make more money, live longer, are more successful, have healthier relationships and, most importantly, have a positive influence on the people around them. Happiness is infectious and can create a chain reaction of good energy. The more joy you are able to spread, the more abundance you can create for others. It’s free and you can easily make someone else’s day, especially to a stranger who is going through a difficult time and needed it the most when they least expected it.
Here are my favorite inspirational quotes to help me get through mental roadblocks and empower me to keep moving forward:
If you are looking for more inspiration, take a look at five inspirational podcasts I selected to help kick-start your business and maximize results. As a huge podcast junkie, I have listened to many hours (65,000 minutes last year!) to figure out what the best, inspirational podcasts that will strategically help you move forward with your business.
Life is too short to not make the investment in yourself today. I want you to reminisce (not regret) about the things you DID to make your dream life possible.
If you’re feeling stuck about what to do with your business and need some quick inspiration, I recommend listening to podcasts, which is a fast and easy way that gives you extra ideas, knowledge, and expertise, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to take the next step in your business.
WHAT IS A PODCAST?
A podcast is an audio recording of a host or a group of hosts who share insight, stories, life experience, and expert knowledge on a broad spectrum of topics, including crime, comedy, business, and lifestyle.
The best thing about a podcast is you can listen to and pause on your own time. You can listen to a podcast while driving, on a slow day at the office, or when you’re cooking. You can easily pick back where you left off from the episode or you can stop and simply move on to the next one.
A couple of years ago, I didn’t believe in podcasts and simply thought the idea of listening to people talk about their expertise was invaluable to reading a good, old-fashioned book. But at the time, I was too busy to even pick up a 300-page book to learn about business tips and tricks, so I decided to give podcasts a try.
Now, here I am (I was once a hard skeptic) who has listened to 65,000 minutes of podcasts last year. Yes, you can see that I’m pretty obsessed with all things podcasts, especially business related ones. I find so many business tips, tricks, and easy wins from purely listening to podcasts without ever picking up a book and, best of all, I can listen to them while doing something else! For those who love to multi-task, listening to a podcast will be perfect for you.
THE ULTIMATE FIVE
I have listened to many hours of a wide variety of business podcasts (from the Dave Ramsey Show to NPR) and have found five podcasts that stand out from the rest because of the impactful, insightful, and applicable tips they share that you can start implementing today. I am not sponsored to share these podcasts – I just truly believe these podcasts would help you with building your business. Here are the top five inspirational, business podcasts to get your idea juices flowing
1.) The Tim Ferris Show
I’ve heard so many podcasters name drop Tim Ferris’s name when I first started listening to podcasts. And there’s no doubt why: Tim Ferris successfully build his own brand and even created a new lifestyle category as an industry.
In his podcast episodes, he goes deep into his conversations with many different people, from CEOs (Howard Schultz) to famous celebrities (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in order to learn about their backstory and how they become successful. His podcasts are more than just the business and technical numbers – it’s learning about the personal struggles and life experiences that are behind the success stories.
2.) Don’t Keep Your Day Job
Cathy Heller brings her positive energy and inspiration into every podcast episode. Her motivational words and wisdom are always so insightful and encouraging that would make you feel uplifted and excited to do your thing.
She was a former musician who now turned into a successful Business Coach to teach other people to build their own businesses around helping others. Her purpose is to help people who wants to live a more fulfilling life than a 9 to 5 job. She has honest conversations with successful, creative entrepreneurs and, more importantly, she gives motivational talks in the beginning and end of every episode to you, the listener, so you leave the podcast leaving so inspired and optimistic.
3.) The Goal Digger Podcast
Jenna Kutcher is a successful entrepreneur who shares inspirational stories and provides free, tangible tips that creates real results – all to help build your dream career. Jenna talks like she’s a good friend in her episodes, which makes her episodes incredibly relatable and down-to-earth. She provides simple, strategic tools covering every part of a business, like social media, email lists, website, and branding.
Her Secret Sauce Quiz is one of her most popular freebie to help identify what makes you unique. From her quiz, I found out that I am a “Dreamer” and this was honestly the most subtle but blunt way to tell me that I needed to finally take the right, actionable steps to building my own business. You will learn a lot of valuable business techniques that are specific and you can implement right away. A huge plus is that most of them are free!
4.) The Lavendaire Lifestyle
For the creative entrepreneurs who want to learn how to craft your dream life, this podcast is for you. While the podcast focuses on personal development and lifestyle design, the host Aileen Xu interviews many creatives, including entrepreneurs, and talks to them on their process of building successful brands and businesses. She has a soothing, calm voice that just makes you feel relaxed and cozy when listening to her podcast. She covers a broad range of topics, from astrology to mental health to productivity. As a creative myself, I binged many of her podcast episodes when I first discovered her and I believe you will too.
5.) E-Ficionado Podcast
Delanie Fischer is a comedian turned Simplicity Coach who helps people use a minimalist approach to their business that will increase their revenue, impact and freedom. She shares different strategies to help simplify side hustle businesses and provides tips to handle decision fatigue, criticism, and other challenges you go through when you are starting a business. Her laughter and warm personality is also infectious – I always have a smile on my face whenever I finish listening to her episode.
There you have it! Podcasts can be incredibly valuable when you’re short on time and you need quick tips and guidance to kick-starting your business. Every podcast host teach unique business strategies, so I recommend listening to more than one to learn as many tips and tricks and apply the relevant ones you can use for building your own brand and business. Keep it up, you are on your way there!
Looking from some guidance on how to build your brand?
At some point in our lives, we had to respond to somebody asking “Why?”, which is really implying “why are you doing this?”
Why would you quit a good paying job? Why would you go to a second rate college? Why would you move across the country? While these questions show that the person asking may truly care and want the best for you, they don’t actually know what is really best for you. They know that the status quo of life can lead you to success – but is this your path to success?
For a long time, I did everything that was socially perceived as right: I got good grades, I went to a good college, and I even had a good paying job. But I didn’t feel successful or even fulfilled. In fact, I was incredibly anxious and deeply unsatisfied pretty much all the time. A few years ago, I had a breakthrough that led me to stop doing what others expected me to do and it was then I decided to do things for myself.
Part of my personality is to do things spontaneously, so I started to back in 2019. I spontaneously went to Korea a month before my wedding. I left a job for another company to work on projects I had minimal experience in. I started making cute wellness art on a digital platform that I’ve never used before and sharing it on social media. I did everything I was taught not to – and this newfound energy felt exhilarating. And, moreover, it was incredibly freeing.
Of course, people were curious and asked me why I did all these things. I gave somewhat mediocre answers at the time, because I really wasn’t confident in what I was doing either. I just knew deep inside my intuition said I should. Looking back, if I had the confidence, I would have gently asked, “Why not?” and actually be honest about why I was doing all this. It wasn’t for money or for my career, it was for me and my sanity.
In my mental wellness journey, I’ve learned to not sugarcoat things anymore. I know us women in particular make up stories or excuses to not hurt or make the other person feel bad, as a way to protect them. We tend to fall in this endless sugarcoating cycle and not really admit why we are or are not doing something. Sometimes, we can’t go to an event because we are actually really tired and need a mental break from work and people for a moment.
So, I’ve been trying lately to be more upfront about my feelings and being more confident speaking about why I do or don’t do things. It is hard to tell people my real reasoning since I’ve been suppressing this from others and sugarcoating it for so long, but I take baby steps when I can. With mental health slowly being more socially accepted, I don’t fear the backlash as much as I did before. In fact, people are willing to share their own struggles if you are honest with them about yours in the first place.
I hope the conversations about mental health become more normalized and we don’t have to hide and suppress our mental struggles from others anymore. Don’t sugarcoat it. In fact, coat it with everything you have.
I have felt the heaviness too. The pressure to meet my Asian parents’ escalating expectations, the societal weight to be a strong yet never an inconvenient female, and the mental load to be normal and sane throughout it all and everything in between.
It’s lot to carry, I know. But for a long time, I kept carrying this weight. I didn’t actually realize how much of this weight was holding me back from being myself. And gradually, the weight was getting heavier to hold and after years of accumulated weight, I couldn’t hold it anymore.
At first, I was scared my biggest fears and worries would all come to fruition when I started to let go, but they never happened. When they didn’t, I simply stopped trying to live up to what my parent’s and society wanted and started to live life for myself. As I slowly started to mentally take the weight off, I instantly felt lighter and feeling the mental “weight” off my shoulders. I felt the freedom to do whatever I wanted. After 30 years, I finally felt the permission to be myself and live life on my terms.
What I have learned is that a lot of this weight was mostly in my head. Sure, my parents would constantly remind me to get good grades and succeed, but they would still love me even if I messed up. Maybe part of it was also the constant drilling (and even borderline brainwashing) from school learning and society’s image on what it means to be a female, but I have chosen to un-learn this and, instead, learn to be more outspoken, to take up space, and to be brave about being unapologetically myself.
This is what I think it means to live fully: to be able to live truthfully and authentically as your truest self. I believe you can do the same by living lightly and slowly taking the mental load off of your mind. It’s okay to have a bit of pressure, as long as it comes from you and nobody else. Have the courage and willpower to live on your own terms, so you can achieve more, do better, and dream bigger.
I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t. I would have been stuck at a dead-end job with a toxic manager, my crippling anxiety would take a greater control over my life, and I would continue to live life on other people’s terms. I wouldn’t have started sharing about my journey on this blog or created art for healing and positivity.
So I encourage you to live, like really live. You can start by taking the mental weight and pressures off in your mind. In reality, nobody is really pushing you to do something. There’s always going to be external voices and opinions, but you should quiet those down and listen to your own internal voice instead. Your internal voice is the one that matters anyway. And I totally get that your inside voice may consist of self-doubt and worries, but I believe that just being aware of those feelings can really help you start the process of building confidence and uncovering who you are truly meant to be.
Living lightly has given me the opportunity to live fully. I am in a much better headspace than ever before and I live life everyday doing things I love. Even when things go wrong during the day, I don’t sulk too long and I do my best to move forward, as this is all part of the human experience anyway.
There is no real need to carry all this heavy weight anymore. Slowly let it go and you’ll find yourself so much lighter and feel so much fuller than ever before. Good luck!
You are the author of your own story, regardless of the heartbreaks, rejections, and hardships you’ve gone through or you’re currently going through. Think of them as plot twists and help make your story more interesting.
I totally get not seeing the bright side when things don’t go your way, especially when the bad stuff keep piling up one after another. I applied to both undergraduate and graduate programs at my dream school and I didn’t get in either times. I was called pathetic by an ex-boyfriend after three weeks of dating and I went out with another guy a few times who just really wanted a one-night stand. I was never good enough for job positions I really wanted and simply accepted ones that paid the bills. As you can see, I have had my share of the soggy pie too, just like you and so many other people in this world.
What makes these setbacks interesting is what happens after. I didn’t give up and saw these failures as life experiences and part of my journey. That dream school I didn’t get into? I am working on a project with them right now. That ex-boyfriend who called me pathetic? He apologized for his immaturity back in college and we’re still friends today. The job positions I never got? I still didn’t get, but I now work in a job I chose to be in with a salary I negotiated for.
We can choose to stay down or rise up against the harsh realities of life. To be honest, I am just an ordinary woman who worked really hard on my achievements and extra hard on doing the self work to be the me I am today. I do not have any special skills to overcome my hardships, just my persistent willpower to keep moving forward and grow from these experiences. It helps to have a little bit of curiosity and some fun too. So don’t let the difficulties be the final ending to your story. All of us had gone through some sort of a hardship in life, the only difference is what we do after.
People who were nobodies became somebodies because they didn’t give up, were authentic to themselves, and chased their dreams. Steve Job’s story could have ended when he was kicked out of Apple in 1985, but he kept doing more and created Pixar a year later and developed the first Iphone 20 years after. He didn’t let any setbacks stop him and even had the courage to go on a spiritual journey which heavily influenced the design aesthetic of his future innovations. If he gave up at any moment in time, then a lot of the world we see today might have been very different.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg also fought hard in life and became an even bigger fighter for women’s rights and gender equality. In light of the sexism she faced in early childhood, the passing of her older sister and her mom before her high school graduation, and surviving cancer five times, she kept going and remained incredibly strong even in her final days. Her resiliency and perseverance made her who she was and she didn’t need anyone’s permission to be the woman she wanted to be in order for so many of us enjoy the freedoms we have today.
There are many other stories of people who have endured and overcame their struggles too, from Stacey Abrams to Steph Curry to Chadwick Boseman. Before their successes, they were just ordinary people who did something and didn’t give up, no matter what hardships they went through. They didn’t let a lost election, their height, or their cancer stop them from doing more. They did the really hard work and hustled, and was able to craft their own stories out of it.
You are not alone when it comes to the struggles and hardships in life. We all deal with something but, unfortunately, not all of us believe we can overcome it. I am telling my story because I believe hitting rock bottom doesn’t mean you need to stay down. Getting out of something hard can be messy, scary, and a lot of the times very uncomfortable, but it is the best feeling to be free and to continue to write and tell my story.
You can’t control what happens, but you can control what you do next. I hope you are able to find the strength to keep going and make your mess your message. Maybe you can also find joy in both your pursuits and failures. Whatever you do, don’t give up on yourself or your dreams. Who knows, you can be the next ordinary person who can be extraordinary and live to tell your own story.
From the outside, it seemed like I was living the dream life. I got a graduate degree, I had a decent paying job, and I was part of many social circles. Based on society’s and my Asian parents’ standards, I did everything right by achieving academic, professional, and personal success throughout my 20s. I followed a path like many others had done before me and I thought this was the ideal life I was meant to be living. At the time, I assumed my personal well-being didn’t matter, even as my anxiety levels and my mental state were getting progressively worse, since in the external world, everything else was going fine.
As I was achieving success, I was going so fast and nowhere at the same time. I felt empty, unhappy, and unfulfilled. The two years of graduate school in another state put a strain on my long-term relationship. I loathed the job I was in after graduate school and I became incredibly anxious and depressed working with a toxic manager. I went to every social gathering to show my support to my loved ones and friends, but I wasn’t really present when I was physically there.
For so long I assumed my happiness would positively correlate with all the things I have done right in life by being a good daughter, a good student, a good employee, and a good partner. I just accepted things as it came to me and obediently stuck to my lane. I never did anything to step on anyone’s toes or out of my comfort zone. But I was nowhere near happiness and I was getting further away from being my authentic self. I was slowly disappearing and I couldn’t admit this to myself because I was too scared to face my own troubled mental state. I used other things like work, social gatherings, and other “busy” distractions to keep me from ever confronting my mental health. I thought my worries, anxieties, and fears would just eventually go away if I kept going with the flow of life. This was the ideal life anyway, so this would work itself out right?
It didn’t. The cracks of this seemingly ideal life started to crumble into noticeable pieces. I was in a terrible mood a lot of the time, I was in a constant state of worry, and I was exhausted from meeting everyone’s expectations. My relationships soured, my work suffered, and my mental health declined. I was losing myself and I didn’t know what to do.
In 2019, I didn’t have a breakdown, but I had a breakthrough. For the first time in my life, I made the decision to start doing things for myself, not just to please my parents or to impress an employer. I started to work on projects I liked and enjoyed. I went on trips for myself, not for social obligations. I was rediscovering who I was and finding out who I really wanted to be. For once in my life, I was finally taking ownership of my life. I left the toxic workplace for a new one with a position I wanted and a salary I negotiated for. I improved my communication skills with my partner and fostered stronger relationships with friends. I even started a side business of designing and selling cute greeting cards. I was making things happen my way and was finally becoming myself again.
As I gained confidence to do the things I loved, I gained the courage to confront my mental health and took action to do something about it. I started meditating, slowing down, stretching, and experimenting with all sorts of mindfulness activities. I read books and listened to many hours of podcasts related to self-help topics. After putting in “self-work” consistently, the results were magical. The newfound clarity and sense of calmness was incredibly freeing. For a person who had experienced a lifelong crippling anxiety, this felt like a dream. And this new dream became my new reality.
I am starting to live my dream life now. I am learning to be my authentic self and I am so much happier than ever before. I live fully with less anxiety and do things I love without anyone else’s permission. As I gain more courage, I am able to take risks and try new things, like taking a real hard look at my finances and my unhealthy lifestyle, and making changes that I have avoided for so long. Interestingly, the more I give back to myself, the more I am able to give back to the world at a much greater capacity than ever before. I am continuously using my creativity and art to help others heal and began their journey of self-discovery, while staying true to myself and my values.
I am sharing my story so one day you can find yourself and live your dream life too. You have the right to live happily and make your dreams happen, no matter what age you are. Be willing to let go, take up space, and live authentically. It does take real work, time, and consistency, but I guarantee that it is incredibly rewarding, feeling this other way. This may make other people uncomfortable at first, but realize you need to put your own life above others’ expectations. By the end of it all, you have lived your life, not someone else.
A happy mind is a happy life. You deserve to be happy and live your dream life, so go make it a happy ending.