I am the product of two fairly conservative Taiwanese families. I don't know my father's side of the family as well, except for my grandfather (who passed many years ago), who was known to be the artist in the family and taught me to ride a bike and mold a rabbit out of clay. After moving to America, my grandfather chose "Happy" as his first name. The last time we spoke (over the phone) was when he wished me happy birthday for the very last time.
My parents, my sister, and I followed in his footsteps and immigrated to the United States when I was nine years old. We began to build our American Dream.
I was brought up to strive for perfection and pursue our version of the perfect American life: Get great grades in school, get into graduate school or medical school, and, if you can't be a highly respected, high-paying professional like a doctor or an engineer, marry someone who's an MD or a PhD and give birth to two well-behaving children (preferably a boy and a girl, in this order). I learned that being a hard-working Taiwanese daughter who made her family proud was paramount, while the pursuit of personal happiness (a concept, of course, encouraged by American culture) wasn't supposed to be a major focus. If I were ever seen as overly focused on myself and what I wanted, I would be scolded for being selfish.
My plan for a medical career started derailing during my freshman year of college, when I became disillusioned with my studies and started questioning the meaning of life - in my dorm's laundry room. "Is this it?" I wondered sadly as I looked up from my textbook, washers and dryers rumbling in the background. I continued my questioning and later found myself in the personal and spiritual development sections of local bookstores, attending a meditation class, and eventually going on spiritual retreats, including shamanic vision quests. In my immediate family we rarely discussed religion or spirituality while I was growing up. So I was left to figure things out on my own.
It took many years for me to learn to trust my inner wisdom, find my own voice, and own and speak the truth of who I really am and what I am here to do, as I navigated through the many bumps in my career and dating journeys - ever so imperfectly.
Having been there, I am here to help ambitious women live from their Best/Higher Self (which is wise, centered, confident, and creative) and access their gifts, including their intuitive gifts, so that they can stop living somebody else's life, get out of the cage of convention, and fly free. I know that I can't take away these women's suffering as they navigate their life paths the best that they can. But at least I can help them feel more prepared and less alone on the journey.
Finally, I do believe that the pursuit of happiness is important. Doing what makes one happy is energizing. Doing energizing things makes one happy. Plus, happiness (and laughter) is infectious! 🙃 As our enjoyment of life increases, so do our levels of productivity and engagement, and the whole world benefits!
Grandpa had the right idea all along. 😁
Until next time.
To living courageously,
Joanne Chen, MA, CPC
Leadership & Life Coach