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An End and a Beginning

I was lost. Set adrift. I had spent over 20 years in tech and I was making a good living but feeling like I was running in place. Why wasn't I happy? As an immigrant the security of a paycheck should have been enough. I was taught: make money, ignore and push through the micro-aggressions, and be happy outside of work. Prioritize money and the safety and security of a steady job. But something was always missing. Nothing I was doing fed my soul. It felt like there were concrete blocks on my feet that I had to drag with me every step of the way while I was running on that hamster wheel.

And everything came to a head for me during the pandemic. The exponential rise in anti-Asian and anti-Black hate crimes, murders, and assaults. The isolation and existential dread. The anxiety and depression. Feeling hopeless and helpless. Walking down the street without my Airpods in, hyper aware and hair-trigger-ready to fight back if someone came at me. Wishing someone would. Wishing someone would so I could release that deep well of rage inside me. Wishing they would give me an excuse to have an outlet for it. Refusing to be a victim.

At the same time feeling like I had all this privilege and not doing anything with it beyond paying my taxes and being a good civil servant by going to jury duty. The call to do more. To be more. Who do I want to BE in this world? Beyond what I do? I had no idea. Wow, was that a reckoning.

Then, in the pursuit of wanting to be a better manager and leader (turns out I should have paid more attention to the micro-aggressions) I took CTI's Coaching Fundamentals. That simple step was a life-changing experience. Coaching is what I want to do with my life! I've always been a good listener. I've always had (too much) empathy. Throughout my career what I loved most was working with people and building enduring relationships. I found my calling. I want to help invoke change; in my life, my client's lives, and in my community.

So what do I do? I have conversations with people and I help invoke change. And who am I being? A coach who invokes change. An AAPI woman whose mission is to champion, uplift, and empower as many BIPOC women in tech as possible fight against systems of oppression at work and in life. And how am I being? Buoyant. Airy. Spirited. ALIVE. Oh believe me, that deep well of rage is still there, but that's for another blog post.

I launched my coaching business in January. I donate a portion of my coaching fee to the non-profits of my and my clients' choice; it goes to the ACLU, SF Marin Food Bank, and SF CASA. I am in community: I'm a member of the Asian Women's Coaching Collective (AWCC) and participate in Ascend events and facilitate Focus Circles at the SASE Women's Leadership conference. I am an #IAmRemarkable facilitator. I am a SF CASA volunteer. I now do what aligns with my values: integrity, authenticity, adventure, connection, community.

I've never been more sure of my path. And, it's still a struggle. It goes against everything I've been taught in my upbringing and everything in my rational brain. But instead of dragging concrete blocks I am bouncing on clouds. It is a conscious choice. And that's how I want to be in this world and in my life. It's the end of a safe path and the beginning of an adventure.

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