9. Are you a second generation woman who’s part of this 2-3%? Mental health with Asami Koike – Transcription

In this episode, Asami and I chat about:
– Asian Australians accessing mental health support
– Assimilating and fitting into different cultures/spaces
– Perfectionism
– What led her to create Shapes and Sounds
– & so much more!

Asami is a first generation immigrant from Japan and is a mental health practitioner. She’s the founder of Shapes and Sounds, which is the leading voice for Asian Australian mental health and wellbeing!

Welcome back to another episode. Today I’ve got a really special guest. She’s a first generation immigrant from Japan and the founder of Shapes and Sounds, which is the leading voice for Asian Australian mental health. And, let’s give a warm welcome to Asami. All the way from Melbourne, right? Yeah. Where are you based? Sydney. Oh, okay. Yeah, since I’ve started life coaching and focusing on second generation women, I found your page and Shapes and Sounds, and I’ve been a huge fan. So I have your emails and my following your Instagram and everything. Good. Thank you. That’s awesome to hear. So it’s amazing that you’re on the podcast, and I can’t wait to talk to you about all the stuff you’re doing. Yeah, same here. Thanks for having me.

Let’s start with the knowledge that you’re a first generation immigrant from Japan. So tell us a bit more about that. Well, I was born in Japan, and then at the age of four, I moved here, so I’m first gen, but I definitely spent the majority of my life here, and I grew up here. I guess I started school here in kindergarten. So I guess essentially in a similar time when other people are learning language as well. My experiences of immigration occurred very young, and then when I was in my 20, I think I went back to Japan and lived there for about three years and then came back to Melbourne. So most of my time has been in Melbourne. Really?

Yeah. I’m technically a first generation immigrant as well, but I wasn’t born in Australia. But I always say on my Instagram and my podcast that I relate more to second generation experience, so I kind of classify myself as in between. So is that how you kind of refer to yourself in a way as well? Definitely. I think the term diaspora really sits well with me, and I would definitely say it’s your formative years that make a really big difference in your life. So your childhood and your adolescence, they’re the years where your identity really forms and develops. So I can completely understand your experience, too, that, yes, technically, you were born somewhere else overseas in Vietnam? Oh, no, I was actually born in the Philippines. My parents were on their way to Australia. Yeah, I see. In the Philippines. And then how old were you when you came here? I was about three to four months. Wow. Very. I’ve pretty much grown up here. I lived here. I don’t know anything otherwise.

Yeah, I totally get that. Yeah. Similar. I guess it’s a bit different, like the age of four. Right. But still, I think it’s your teenage years and your early adulthood that really shape who you are, I think. Definitely. And speaking about your childhood and teenage years, I’m curious to know what kind of cultural pressures did you experience growing up? Yeah, that’s a great question. I think for me, a cultural pressure that I really faced was the pressure to assimilate quite quickly and adapt very quickly as well. My parents, both of them, spoke English when they moved to Australia. They already were fluent in English. So, for them, I think, quite different to other immigrant stories that work sort of day to day, errands, activities that came quite seamlessly as well. So, for me, I think, yeah, I guess pressure is never something that’s kind of verbally good on you, but just these nuances that you experience right in your life. And for me, I think, just adapt assimilate, but also understand different contexts. So if we’re in Melbourne, it’s like, okay, this is how you act, this is how you do things. And then back in Japan, there are so many cultural norms as well that you have to follow. But I never grew up in Japan, so I don’t really understand them. I just have to watch and follow. But I think that pressure to be within the crowd. I belong in the crowd, both in Melbourne and in Tokyo or in Japan. I think that did feel like pressure to me. And that’s something that I’ve carried for a long time, too.

So how do you feel on a scale of zero to ten in terms of belonging? How do you feel in Japan and in Australia? Yeah, like, which one do I feel more belonging in? Yeah, it’s a great question, and one which I have tackled so many times. Right. But I would say if I go from a very purely physical, like, my body, right? If I think about my body belonging somewhere, that is clearly Japan. Firstly, the water there is treated differently. My skin, my hair, everything just sits well. Like, clothes fit everything, right? That’s a huge thing. But even, like, Japan is a very spiritual land as well. So when I’m there, I genuinely feel very grounded and it’s like I put my feet on the earth and it’s like, all right, I’m connected, I’m here. Right. So there’s that sense of belonging and there’s that level of belonging, I should say. But here, I feel like I really belong in Melbourne too, in very small pockets of Melbourne, like the inner north and the arts culture and the creative scene here. And at the same time, I also feel like I belong within the diaspora culture and the conversation that’s emerging here in the States and even in parts of Asia as well. So I think, to answer your question, it’s complicated. None of them are a ten, but none of them are a zero as well.

And in terms of belonging, I’ve done a lot of yoga in my life and physical practice, and that sense of belonging to your own body and feeling like a sense of being within your body and inhabited and embodied, that’s where I really get my greatest sense of belonging. I love that you brought that up. Instead of trying to fit into a space now that we can control our environment, right? Maybe we can try to make the space fit into our values and what’s important to us. Yeah, great point.

Sorry, I don’t know if you can hear that. That was my dog scratching the door. Mom, come. Who are you talking to now? We love seeing your dog on Instagram. Very cute. But yeah, boundaries, right? Physical boundary of the door. Yeah. Love hearing your cultural experiences and kind of bring that into what you do now.

So you’re the founder of Shapes and Sounds, which provides mental health services for hundreds of Asian Australians. And I’m curious to know what experiences led you to start Shapes and Sounds. Yeah, so definitely everything we’ve been talking about, like, all of these early experiences. Right. But I guess the key experience or situation that happened that led me to start Shapes and Sounds is I used to work in an acute and crisis service in the context of youth mental health. So it was here that we would have people dropping into our service, probably in the most acute crisis in their lives. And I spent about five years in the service, and I really started to notice that there were every now and then an Asian client would come in and I thought, hey, what are you doing? And I guess just from a personal sense, at times, I felt really interested in this person’s story or this client’s story and what’s happening and what kind of supports are they getting? And I just really got this weird intuitive sense that our Asian clients were slipping through the cracks in our service delivery, not just within our service, but across the whole youth public mental health sector. And I just remember so many times just kind of mentioning this in meetings or to management, and the answers would always circle around, let’s get more interpreters or let’s get better translation of documents and posters in different languages for our walls. And then I didn’t really have the language for it back then, but I’d be like, I feel like these kids are speaking English. Like, many of them were born in Australia. I really don’t think the language barrier is a problem. And I spent a few years being like, that’s a bit weird. And when you don’t have the language for something too, you can’t quite explain what’s going on, but you know, deep down that something’s not right. And it all kind of came to a head in 2019. We had an awful, awful time in that organization. Like, lots of changes happened. Lots of young people were in intense crisis. So trigger warning, a lot of suicide, suicide, and suicide occurred. And that led to burnout for me as a mental health practitioner. And as I was exploring my burnout or dealing with my burnout, I really started to question, like, what’s going on for Asians? Why is this happening? Why are people slipping through the cracks. And as I started to get into the literature and research, I learnt that Asians or Asian diaspora in Western countries have the lowest engagement rate with mental health services. So out of everyone that accesses services, we make up only about 2% to 3% of those people. But once you’re in acute or involuntary admission or suicide responses, then we make up about eight to 10% of that demographic accessing those services. And I think that that discrepancy in the number really highlights how many people in our community are struggling in silence. And that it’s not that Asians are so resilient and so strong, which we are, but that, you know, people are struggling in silence and they’re not getting the help that they need in a timely and appropriate manner. And it’s not just about the stigma within our communities, but it has a lot more to do with the failings of the current mental health system here in Australia. So I started writing a blog, just like being angry and writing things as you do. And then thanks to social media, I think that’s such a fantastic way to connect with people and reach people. And I started to connect more with different Asian Australians in different spaces. And I was attending an Asian Australian Leadership Workshop series. This is all before Covert, by the way. And then I met Dean, who is our head of impact and her background is in management consultancy. So you could already see like, that great organizational psychology brain that she has really helped to create structure to the vision. And that’s sort of the very, very early days of shapes and sounds. And we actually worked remotely for a full like two years, 18 months or something. Was that at the beginning or was it just because of Covert? Yeah, it was because of Covert. So I probably meant February before February 2020. Perfect timing. Then it all went down and then we became a company in December 2020. So then 21 was when we started delivering programs to the community. Wow, that’s amazing how certain experiences just really shape us and then they add a sort of new pathway that we hadn’t thought of before. Yeah, and another one that I don’t often talk about too, but something like maybe you’ll resonate with. But around all of that happening. Late 2019, I also went to New York first time as an adult and I just remember ordering coffee everywhere I went and I’d be like at Starbucks to say and I’d be like, what’s your name? And then I would always say Asani. Asami. And I always spell my name right away, it’s like one word, but then before I could spell my name, they’d be, okay, next. And I’d be like, well, you don’t need to know the spelling of my name. Like it’s not weird to you. And it really just got me thinking about why do I spell my name all the time? Why do. I other myself all the time when there’s a different world that exists, like some parts of the states are 20 years ahead of us in terms of conversations like this. And that really got me thinking, like, oh, wow, there’s a different way in which things can be. And I think all of those kinds of experiences led to the early days of the early ideas of shampoo sounds. Sometimes we do things so out of habit and it’s so normal, we don’t think about it. When you were saying that, I was thinking back to when I used to introduce myself and I used to say my name extra slow. Really? Yeah. Hi, I’m Van. And then they’ll be like, what? Yeah. Oh, you know these people that say like their name and then they say, like, Lydia with an N?

Participant #1:
Yeah. How do you spell it? They got to spell it out. Yeah. And then it’s like, wow, that’s exhausting for us. Yeah. But I guess it comes from somewhere like we had these early experiences where people were confused or it was just a hard time trying to communicate with them in the beginning, it just made things awkward. So we just know what to do to avoid it now. Exactly. To avoid that discomfort. Yeah. Your name and my name, they’re actually both phonetic. It’s just the spelling. Yeah. Your name is much more phonetic than mine is. Yes, of course you do. Yeah. But I think even on your website right, you write pronounced as Ben. And I do see that just in case people want to like I always want to pronounce people’s names correctly. Yeah. I don’t want to offend anyone. And that’s also part of that need to make sure that everyone’s okay, that everyone’s comfortable, that there’s no awkward interactions. That’s true. Yeah. You’re responsible for everyone’s comfortable. That’s one of the big topics that I talk about a lot on my Instagram and like, coming up on the podcast as well, making sure that you are the sole person who’s in charge of everybody, which is so not the case. I know, right? Yeah. It’s a lot to carry. Hay so now that you tell us a bit about shapes and sounds and how it came about, I wonder what’s your mission with shapes and sounds? Yeah, I think, like I said, we truly, truly believe the world can be a kinder better I don’t want to use the word inclusive. I feel like that implies, like, there’s a norm. So not inclusive, but maybe safer world for everyone. And as a part of that, I really feel like mental health is such a key ingredient because strong and stable mental health translates to good relationships, good and healthy relationships. So by improving people’s mental health, you improve relationships, you improve dynamics at work, you improve the safety, the psychological safety of masses of people. And we just so happen to work within the context of Asian mental health because Asians are an underrepresented demographic when it comes to mental health conversations, both due to the stigma within our communities, but also just the cultural nuances that are lacking in psychology services or mental health services. So basically, in a nutshell, our mission at Shapes and Sounds is to make it easy for Asians to engage in their mental health care. That’s so important. And even just talking to my friends about mental health, it’s just not something that comes naturally to us. Our parents haven’t talked about it. We don’t really bring it up in conversations. I mean, now with our generation, we are exposed to a lot more and we know we have access to these kind of services, but at the same time, we don’t know exactly who to go to. Yeah, I hear you. And I love how one of your values is humanness, just being real and making sure that when you talk to someone, you’re not just getting like a quick response or an automated copy and pasted response. So I think bring that humanness to all of this. We all go through similar struggles, not exactly the same. And that’s one of the things I love about what you share on Instagram because you share the real stuff. You’re actually overcoming this too, and you’re still on the journey. We haven’t completely worked this out yet, but we’re all working on it together. Most definitely. Yeah, we definitely lead by example, I guess. Not by leading via our mental health expertise, although that’s really important too. But I think humanness is a really key value for us because it counters that need for perfectionism that many of us in our community kind of struggle with or many hide behind either. Like, the more perfect we are at our work, the more safe we feel. But what happens when you are imperfect, which we all are? How can you allow yourself to shine and to just be for who you are? That takes a lot, especially in a world that has never really valued you as well. So we take a lot of work to be human. I think Vy and I spent a lot of time just like, chatting, who are we? And we do that within as much as we can within our team. There’s a lot of chitchat in our meetings and making sure that the humans are well or well enough, I guess really well in this time and focusing. We cannot be a mental health organization and we’re all burning out and we’re all just like, crumbling on the inside too. So we take a lot of care of the human as much as possible. And I’m probably the worst example at this, but I love them because I know that I’m the worst example of this. Well, it’s all like a work in progress. I love that he brought up the idea of connection. It’s part of the humanist part of when you get to know people and you get to know yourself. Like that sort of connection is what brings people together. And that’s kind of one of my values as well, with kind of heart and just talking to people and getting to know people better rather than just how are you? Yeah, I’m good, thanks. Bye. Yeah, rather than just purely transactional. Right? Yeah. And social connection is like a key indicator of good mental health too. So it’s just so important. Right. And connection is hard when you’ve been hurt a lot in the past too, or you have relational trauma in your family or just amongst friendship groups as well, or with partners. But we try as much as possible within our community to create safe opportunities for connection with one another. And you started a mental health membership program called the Shapes and Sounds Club. And I looked through the kind of overview and I saw a topic for each month and I just wanted to know what are some of the biggest topics that you dive into? Just give us a little summary. Yeah, of course. The Shapes and Sounds Club is that community that I was talking about, where we really try to foster connection and we take more of a collectivist approach to mental health. So we open up conversations and the forum is heavily motivated by our therapists. But at the same time, people talk to one another and it’s really important that we see that we’re not alone in our experiences that oftentimes people like you brought up at the start, we don’t really feel a sense of belonging in lots of different spaces. So understanding that other people feel like that gives us a sense of belonging to a different culture too. And in terms of the topics, so we have something called the Essential Guide for Asian Australia mental Health that we created right at the start of the Shapes and Sounds Club. And that’s something that we created based upon our working experiences, therapists, but also within our work with the Asian Australian community. And the three big themes that we highlighted that continually emerge for the Asian community here in Australia are one, stoicism or perseverance and grit. That’s just something that’s so prominent in our lives and in a healthy manner. It can lead to fantastic things, which many of us have achieved, but in a challenging way. It can really burn us out and it can really be oppressive, this need to just keep going all the time. So that’s the first topic. Then there’s internalized racism. I feel like our competition has already touched on everything but internalized racism. All of these messages that we internalized growing up as Asian in Australia and these conversations haven’t really been had in a big free and open way. I think in the past, I would say things are changing now in terms of the media and greater representation, but that is definitely a huge theme that impacts our mental health and lastly, a huge topic is intergenerational trauma. Like the war, the World War II, Vietnam War, everything is so recent and if our parents didn’t experience something themselves, our grandparents did and that is just so incredibly recent in our ancestry lines. And intergenerational trauma is so debilitating and painful. And I would say that us now in this modern day and age, our predecessors have had to survive and just make their way through, rebuild their lives. But now with this sense of safety and security and stability, that’s foundational already in our lives, all of that trauma is coming to the surface for so many people. And it’s really, really important to have those conversations, but in a very, very safe and contained manner rather than just kind of blur in the open because they’re difficult and they’re triggering. Yeah, definitely. When I was in Uni studying primary school teaching, I had to do an assignment where we had to make a video capturing a story from our family. And my grandparents served in the Vietnam War and I interviewed them over the phone because they’re in Vietnam and they didn’t want to talk about too much. It was kind of bringing things to the surface that they probably pushed down, didn’t want to bring up and they hadn’t thought about for a while. And so I didn’t actually get much out of them for my Uni assignment and so I didn’t do that well. Yeah, but just knowing their story and connecting to them on that level, for them it’s like, oh, you really want to get to know us, get to know the history of our family and what they’ve gone through, but at the same time, there’s only so much they want to share. Yeah, totally. Right? And I feel like that assignment in itself, it’s not very inclusive actually, because it kind of assumes that people’s grandparents are excited to tell their kids about their lives. Right. I guess it could have been any story. I just thought that was a big story that I wanted to capture for myself. Okay, so like any family story. Yeah, okay. Yeah. And I think the year after I went back to Vietnam to visit them and I showed them the video, I just had photos and I had some stock photos that I couldn’t find any and they were all just like smiles, like, wow, she’s doing this great work. But I don’t know if deep down they were actually triggered by that. And that kind of brings up these experiences that they’ve had were traumatic and it’s kind of passed down through my parents as well when they had to migrate to Australia and then on to us. Even though we’ve pretty much grown up in Australia our whole lives, it’s just things are slowly getting better. But there are things under the surface that have never been brought up before. Yeah, most definitely. And so recent. Right? Like it wasn’t in our lifetime. That these things happened, but we still hear about it. I don’t know if people listening, it might have happened during their lifetime, but I wasn’t physically there. But in a way, I kind of envisioned that I am because of all the stories I’ve heard, all the things that my grandparents, my parents, have told me about their stories. And, you know, our parents just love telling us about, like, when I was younger. So all those stories that we’ve heard have been ingrained in us to think a certain way or to behave a certain way. What are your thoughts on that? Yeah, most definitely. And I think to add to that idea that actually, as human beings, our nervous system and our ability to regulate and self soothe ourselves comes directly from our primary caregivers, our parents, right, or whoever was there right at the very start of our lives. And nervous systems are very attuned. So the way in which you regulate yourself was taught to you by your parents. The way in which they manage their emotions or manage the arousal within their nervous system was physically taught to them by their parents. So if a generation is deeply affected by war or famine or poverty or natural disasters, then that fear, it’s just imprinted into the next generation’s nervous system, and it just kind of continues on and on. So we hear stories, but actually it is our physicality that knows. So when you say, like, oh, I really feel like I was there, a part of your body completely is attuned to that experience because it’s your nervous system and it is the way in which your brain and your body operates. Yeah, that’s so interesting. It’s fascinating, right? I love psychology. Yeah. Another topic that I saw was perfectionism. And you mentioned Stoicism. Is that kind of similar? I think they’re related, aren’t they? They’re so interrelated perfectionism and, like, perfectionism. But I also think perfectionism to me speaks a lot more about the fear of being imperfect. That unless I am excelling, I’m failing. There’s no in between. Either I’m, like 100% or I’m a complete and utter failure. And that fear that lives within so many people about perfecting tasks, perfecting our work or achievement, I guess there’s such a big focus on the outcome rather than the process. Because for so long, I think when you are a racialized person, you only get only the result that people see and people care about and people comment on, so they don’t see all of the nuances and the layers that you’ve had to go through before that to get to the results. So for me, making sure that result is perfect so no one can say anything bad about me because anything negative is, like, completely tied to racial trauma. And so then that kind of, like, pushes me all the time for perfection. And that all or nothing approach, really. But I’m really learning about the process. I think that that’s very important. It definitely is. I relate strongly to what you said as well and how it’s like black and white, all or nothing. And I just had a memory as you were talking. My parents, when they looked at my school reports, they didn’t really understand English. And I know your parents could speak English, and they’re fluent. But my parents, a lot of my friends parents, they still can’t speak English that well. And when they looked at our school reports, the only things they looked at were the numbers because they couldn’t really understand anything else. And of course, they saw us either studying or not studying and working hard. But what they really treasured was the result that showed if you were achieving or not. And I think now working in a school where a lot of parents don’t speak English fluently as well, I see that happen to students in school now where parents just kind of see because Australian grades, it goes from A to E, right? C is average. That’s where the benchmark is, where you should be at grade. But when parents see a C, they think that their kids are not doing so well. A means you’re excelling. Like, you’re amazing. C just means you’re average, and it doesn’t mean that your child is failing at school. That’s such a good point about the numbers. Or just say the letter. That has a very clear grading system. And if there are any language barriers, then you completely miss the nuances of just, say, a B. It seems like the B report card could be like it’s evident that you really struggled with biology at the start of the term, but then you made some great progress throughout the term. Like, when you miss that nuance and all you can understand is the letter or the number, you’re so right. Then that really perpetuates. Like, then you have to have 100 or you have to have 99. Yeah. And you know the stereotype of if you don’t get at least 80%, you failed. Yeah, that’s true. So perfectionism is something that I’ve struggled with my whole life as well. I’ve really noticed this a couple of years ago when I thought about, why am I burning out so regularly? It’s getting worse. Like, when I started working full time, it was just like a cycle that I knew was coming. When I started life coaching, I realized perfectionism is such a key topic for me in my life and a lot of people that I’ve talked to as well. And I know you’ve mentioned that you’ve had to overcome this and still working on this as well. What are some tips that you could give to help with this? Let me start by saying these are things that I remind myself constantly. So it’s not like, I’m great at this, but I try it to be great. Yeah, exactly. I don’t have to take this. That’s so true. I think. I know that it comes down to understanding that I myself, just as I am, just my flawed, messy self. That that’s actually enough. And being okay with who I am, being comfortable in my own skin, being passionate to myself. Not like, oh, you’re so bad at organizing your weekly schedule, but more like, that’s a really funny part of you. It seems like your week is chaos. Every week, something’s missing. And that’s, like, a really funny thing about you Asami, and having that kind of sense of really trying to prioritize yourself, be okay with who you are. Self acceptance is such an overused sort of word. I never want to ever say the word self love, but essentially, if you want me to summarize, that’s what I’m talking about. Like, really understanding that I am enough. There’s nothing for me to prove. I’m doing the best that I can in a deeply flawed world, and I think that that is the antidote to perfectionism. There’s nothing to prove. A number is not going to make me feel better, but maybe it will for, like, a moment. But I think it’s like that number doesn’t really mean anything unless behind that, that person is being cared for and appreciated by myself. I love that, too. That has changed my perspective of just myself. There’s nothing to prove. And I heard something the other day saying, there’s nothing to hide. You don’t have to prove yourself to be amazing, because you really are on the other side of that. There’s nothing to hide. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. That’s true. I’m like, oh, maybe there is. The funny thing is the part where you mentioned that you laugh at yourself. Yeah. You don’t take yourself too seriously. Because one thing that I’ve noticed in myself when I was going through high school and studying for the HSC, you have something equivalent that’s different, is that I took myself too seriously, and the things that I was embarrassed about it was a big deal. Yeah. I couldn’t laugh at myself. Yeah, you’re so right. Hey, even I think about if I was wearing not the most coolest clothes or something, then I would feel, like, so much shame around that, rather than just like, oh, well, I’m still okay, even if this isn’t, like, the nicest thing. Yeah. Now I just wear, like, flip flops with socks out in the street. I’m like, Whatever. No one’s going to see me anyway. Yeah, exactly. No one cares anyway. When I was younger, I mean, I had a childhood, but I took myself so seriously. Even as a kid, I’d be embarrassed if I did certain things or people would laugh at me if I did something wrong. And so it kind of made me not want to do anything wrong. So no one would laugh at me, no one would make fun of me, and I wouldn’t get embarrassed. And my face used to go red if they see my face is red. They want to know. I’m embarrassed. I don’t want anyone to know. How did you stop your face going red? Just by making sure you never did anything wrong. That was one thing. Another thing was makeup. When I got older, like a bit of makeup, my foundation just covers everything, right? Yeah, but the thing is my ears would also go red. Yeah. So then you would cover your ears. Yeah, but as I grew up, it just kind of went away and maybe that’s my confidence and knowing that everything’s going to be okay. People laugh at me. I just laugh at myself too. Yes. That’s awesome. Isn’t that nice that you have that like physical cue as well? And now I’m not so ashamed of it. So what’s in store for Shapes and sounds? What’s in store? Hey. Well, mental health month is in October. Or is October? So that is always a busy and exciting time for us. Last year we ran something called a 30 Day Journaling Challenge all through October throughout that month, which was so much fun within our closed forum. And this year we’re going to make a few changes to that which I haven’t announced to our members. So can we the sneak peek is that we want to reach more and more people, so we’re going to open it up and make it really accessible to a lot more people than we had last year. So that loves to join. Exciting. Yeah, that would be awesome. And that’s always fun. The 30 Day Challenge to journal and reflect about the intersection between your culture and your mental health. So we will definitely keep you updated on that if you stay close to our instagram. It just shapes and sounds. So I have two final questions for you. Okay. How will you continue to live with intention and connection and how will you continue to help others do the same? Great question. So for me, the way in which I live with intention and connection and connection that I always prioritize myself, I always have, which I think is really kind of rare and unusual for many people, but I have always prioritized myself and I think that is so important. And prioritizing myself doesn’t look like being selfish, but it means that I ask myself, what do I need? What’s working, what’s not working? How can I do this differently? Or what do I need right now? What do I want right now? And continually asking myself those questions so that I can take care of myself, so that I feel really aligned to my own vision and what I want to pursue and chase after and so that I am not getting in other people’s way. I guess like the people around me, I’m clear and I’m on my own path and prioritizing myself, but also taking care and responsibility for myself and my needs as well. That is probably the way in which I really stay close to my intention and in terms of how do I support others to do so. Kind of like what we’ve been talking about throughout the podcast. I think that leading by example is really important, rather than me leading from the perspective of a mental health expert. Because really, I’m really just a human having a human experience just like everyone else. And the way in which I contribute to the world is to share my reflections and to share my experiences and try to bring language to some of the things that we’re all facing and hoping that helps people to feel less alone. That they can relate to my experiences and to the shapes and sounds teams experiences and to foster more conversations that are authentic and allow people to be real. Yeah, I love all of that. So where can our listeners find you? Please find us on all socials, predominantly instagram at justshapesandsounds. So. Don’t forget the just. And our website is justshapesandsoundscom and you can also reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m really trying. I don’t know why I found you on there, actually, the other day because I made a LinkedIn. Amazing. Thank you. I think I followed you. I don’t know how to use LinkedIn yet, but I found you on there. Yeah, it’s an interesting platform, which I’m appreciating. And so if you’re on LinkedIn, let’s connect in a professional way. It’s thank you so much for coming and having a chat with me. I am so grateful for this conversation. Thank you, Ben, and that was so much fun. Thanks for having me.

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

Chat to you in the next episode!
Van Anh

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: