8. What inspired me to help fellow second generation women – Transcription

In this episode, I let you in on WHY I have such a strong passion to continually share content on Instagram and why I keep up with this podcast.

Welcome back to a new episode. A few of you have asked what inspired me to start my Instagram and consistently post content or plan events, and ultimately why I became a certified life coach. So through this episode, I want to share why I want to help fellow first and second generation women.

So, as you know, I am an in between. I’m technically a first generation immigrant because I wasn’t born in Australia, but I came here when I was about three or four months old. So I’ve grown up here and I don’t remember anything else before that. So I am kind of in between. And that’s why I say I want to help first and second generation women, even though I specifically focus on second generation women, because that is the closest to my own experience.

So let’s first talk about how I got here, how I went from being a full time primary school teacher to now a part time life coach and primary school teacher. If you listen to episode one of my podcast titled ‘My Story with Navigating My Life as a Second Generation Woman’, then you probably know most of the story. But there are a few details that I didn’t mention during that episode. So let me give you a little recap with some extra details.

Let’s take it back to when I was in year twelve, thinking about which career path I would follow. I was going through my HSC, which is the exam at the end of year twelve, and I had to choose my Uni courses. I had eight preferences, but honestly, there wasn’t one particular career that seemed interesting or possible for me because I didn’t think I could get a high enough ATAR, which is the score that allowed you to get into certain courses. The only thing I knew was that I would be in a service profession, and I had narrowed it down to teaching or a career in the health field, but I still couldn’t decide because neither one stood out to me. Towards the end of year twelve, I decided to go with teaching. I had experience with teaching younger peers to read, and I was also scared of needles and blood. Actually, I’m still scared…

After getting into Uni and immersing myself into the world of teaching, studying it at Uni, going on placement at different schools, and tutoring part time, I finally started working as a teacher full time. I thought I was going to do that for the rest of my life. Even though I didn’t choose it out of my passion for teaching, it was more that I didn’t mind it and it aligned with my values back then, which was serving people, connecting with people and making a difference. And I loved that I could impact some young minds and be a positive light in the world for these children. That’s what I still love about teaching.

But after a few years I felt like I needed to change something. I thought I just needed a new hobby. So I tried a few new things like network marketing, teaching Pilates and changing schools, but I still didn’t feel better. That was when I realized that being a primary school teacher needed to change.

So when Life coaching came into the picture, I was mind blown. My eyes were open to this whole new world of possibility. Just as I said that, I had this image of Princess Jasmine on the magic carpet. Anyway, back to my story. I could serve people, change their life in some way, I could connect to people on a deeper level and I could still make a difference. And this is all linking back to my values back then because that didn’t change, it’s just that the way that I wanted to do that needed to change.

Now, life Coaching is somewhat similar to teaching but with a different audience and I could have that flexibility, that work life balance that I envisioned. I was like, whoa, I could actually do something different. When just a few years ago I felt like I had to do teaching forever. So I started posting content about work life Balance, because that was a challenge I was experiencing at the time. And honestly, I’m still figuring that out as my life changes. Back during those times I was working about 60 hours a week, full time work and then part time work on top of that, I was trying to figure out how to cut back on these work hours so that I could spend more time doing anything else. So many people that I talked to also experienced the same thing and with all of us working on our careers for the past few years, it was finally taking its toll on us. Not finally, but it was eventually taking its toll on us. Some people getting promotions or trying out new roles in the same industry and so we had more responsibilities and we all felt like work was taking over our life. I felt like it would be relatable and it was from our own experience. And I had learnt a thing or two about how to work towards that balance and was somewhat confident in helping people.

After a few months of posting this kind of content, I felt like I had run out of ideas. I just wasn’t in full alignment with this anymore. So I decided to find my own coach to help me with this, to help me with figuring out what to even post about consistently so that I didn’t run out of ideas again. After our 90 minutes intensive session, I felt so much more clarity around what to post about, and that was only after 90 minutes. I shared the life coaching aspect and the work life balance aspect, and she helped me bridge the two with the cultural aspect. It felt like it was the missing piece that completed my jigsaw puzzle, the one I’ve been working on for so long now.

The cultural side is a big part of my identity, but I hadn’t ever thought about it before. You might know that I grew up in a predominantly Asian community in southwest Sydney, and I didn’t even think that that was what underpinned everything I did. And all my friends also had similar experiences because we had similar upbringings and similar cultural values, which I just never questioned before.

But during my six months with Gabrielle, my coach, I worked with her for six months, and she helped me pull these ideas out of my brain. And what I’ve told her is that she helped me connect the dots, and without her, I would have continued to struggle with my content and what I can actually help you guys with. That’s why identity is such a big part of my content, and it’s one of the core topics I cover with my clients in my coaching programs. Because so many of our second generation women, me included, are pulled in two directions with our culture, like the Western and Eastern side, that we’re so confused about our duality and how to merge the two. And we might even feel guilty and ashamed of what we don’t know, what traditions we don’t follow, or what we’re lacking from each culture. We don’t fully fit in with either culture.

And even if you fully fit in with one culture, identity is still a big topic to unpack, because society as a whole expects you to be a certain way, to act a certain way and live a certain way. So we’re always being pulled in so many directions. But I’m adding on the extra layer of the cultural identity.

And what I’ve been working on for over ten years ago now, since my teenage years, is becoming the person I want to be. Being clear on my identity, I always believed that I was such a quiet and shy person that I would just go along with what was expected and not question why I had to live a certain way. But when I started envisioning who I wanted to be, I realized that I had to change that belief about myself. Because I’m not quiet or shy. I can choose to be quiet, but I’m not a person that just sits back and never shares her opinions, because back then I was afraid of sharing my opinions afraid that people wouldn’t listen to me, that people wouldn’t take me seriously.

And I slowly changed these thoughts about myself and gained the confidence to become who I want to be, which is a person who inspires others and supports people to live meaningful lives, not just the end goal of being happy. And what I coach clients through is how to embody what they love about their cultures, adapt it into their life and showcase that uniqueness to the world to become that positive and radiant light to the people around them.

Another reason that encouraged me to help other second generation women is that I’ve been through it too. So I know how hard it is to feel obligated, to work harder and harder and to over commit yourself to make sure that you’re achieving everything that other people expect of you. It’s like a physical, mental and emotional pressure to put ourselves last and put everybody else first, which is not a bad thing if you’re also taking care of yourself. I was taught to do that my whole life and I still want to do that, but more intentionally now. I want to be thoughtful about how I help others now, rather than to drop everything to help my family because I’d feel bad if I didn’t help, then harbour resentment for it and not be able to do what I need to do for myself too.

It wasn’t just about boundaries, but I’ve also worked on things like comparing myself and my successes to other people’s success, people pleasing. Oh my gosh, I’ve talked about this so much with my clients and recognizing what I actually want my life to be. I’ve also had to work on myself so much and am now so proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish that I want to help other second generation women do the same.

Because of my personal experiences and connection to these topics. I know first hand what it’s like to have these judgmental thoughts about myself and the pressure to live up to these cultural pressures of this perfect life that’s comfortable and comes with financial security. But having worked on overcoming these for a few years now, I’m in a completely different place and hopefully I can show you that I’m walking the walk, not just talking the talk so you can see the possibilities for you too.

In the end, I just want to serve others and inspire more meaning and joy in your life, whether you’re a second generation woman or not, so that you can live with intention and connection rather than living for money, recognition and fame.

It would mean so much to me if you were to follow the podcast on Spotify and give it a five star rating to do this, search the second generation women podcast on the Spotify app, and it should be right under the description. Thank you so much.

Remember, you’re a human BEING, not a human DOING.

Chat to you in the next episode!
Van Anh

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