Finishing a great book is like ending a great relationship. It’s bittersweet. On one end, I am happy to have read such a great book. On the other end, now I gotta find another great book to read.
So I just finished “Believe IT” by Jamie Kern. It’s her autobiography about her journey of creating her company from her living room to being sold to L’oreal for 1.2 billion dollars in cash and became the first female CEO in L’oreal history.
Her story is inspiring to say the least. Not knowing anything about the beauty industry, she had a vision, a mission. At the beginning, it was to help herself cover the redness on her face due to rosacea, and then she went on a mission to change the way women see themselves. To make a change in the beauty industry. To celebrate the natural beauty of women instead of portraying photoshop-perfect images that women all around the world unrealistically strive to become.
In the first 3 years of the business, she got rejected by all of the retail stores, QVC, Sephora, ULTA beauty you name it. Those rejections did hurt her, make her cry her eyes out but it didn’t stir her away from her mission. She used those rejections to get stronger, to get better. Eventually, she turned all the no’s into yes’s. She did it with authenticity, grace and perseverance.
The book was written so well that I felt like I was in the story with her. There were so many times my heart hurt with her, cried with her, cheered for her, celebrated with her. I went through the ups and downs with her through her story.
I’ve always been inspired by stories like this. How somebody (especially a woman) could start from nothing and build an empire that helps many many people. This includes Jamie that I mentioned here, Sara Blakely (from Spanx), Madam C.J. Walker, Oprah – are all my role models. Their stories touch my heart and I strive to become a woman like them.
In their stories, I learn to never give up, to strive to be the best version of myself, to contribute to my family and the society, to live from my values and vision and to do good in the world with my power.
Many times I wonder why God wants me to walk this path. I am just a Chinese Malaysian girl, grew up in a small town, and was always afraid to speak up. Why choose me to be on this path? But I know God has a bigger plan. God wants me to learn, to level up, to grow into the woman I am capable to be so I could carry his vision and be on this mission of serving the world.
Here are some amazing quotes that I’d like to share with you from the book:
“In life, we aren’t who people say we are, we’re who believe we are”
“Pay attention to your struggles, as they can become your superpower.”
“Sometimes those no’s are actually serendipitous grace, wrapped in a package labeled painful rejection.”
“In business, your authentic relationship is with your customer.”
“Not fitting in can be a superpower.”
“The genius thing that we did was, we didn’t give up.”
“Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”
“Precision beats power, and timing beats speed.”
“Even miracles take a little time.”
“Remember the power of believing in your power. That, along with working hard and never giving up, made all the difference in transforming an idea that began in my living room into a billion-dollar company. And in turning a journey filled with underestimation into a dream that was unstoppable.”
“I love you way too much to give you what you’re asking for. Just trust me.”
“Either pray or worry, but don’t do both.”
“We need to risk speaking our truth, and brave being hurt, in order to be fully alive. We need human connection to feel true love. We need community. We need each other.”
“I’ve learned that revealing how you truly feel, even when it’s hard, can be key to connection, freedom, and healing.”
“What will you do with the power that is YOU?”
“All of our difficulties in life aren’t just setbacks, they’re actually setups from God, to help make us strong enough to carry the weight of both the highs and lows of our future calling.”
“When you follow your calling in your life, all things are possible!”
“Take away what you’re known for, and whatever’s left is who you are.”
“We need women to take chances, launch businesses, challenge industries, speak out against injustices, and shine their own lights brightly, without being afraid to fail or worrying about getting shamed for it. We need to have grace for each other. We need to lift each other up. And celebrate each other.”
“The warrior knows that her heartbreak is her map. – Glennon Doyle”
“A true billionaire is someone who positively impacts a billion lives.”
“Live for the moments you can’t put into words.”
“When fear knocks, let faith answer the door.”
“God doesn’t need us to show up perfect, He just needs us to show up.”
“Quit waiting for a plan; just go love everybody.”
“God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”
“The longest journey we take as human beings is the eighteen inches from our head to our heart.”
“Think about your victories, where you found strength to overcome fear, and where you chose love. Think about just how far you’ve come and how strong you are. Proof that you’re a miracle in motion. Now, place your hand on your heart and thank it for beating for you all these years. Feel it beating for you right now and say thank you. Right now, at this very moment, it’s showing up for you. Again and again. It’s endured heartache for you during your lowest times and it’s pumped fast for you during your highest. It continues to show up for you, giving you chance after chance to fill up yourself and the world with love. It’s never failed you. It always shows up. Take a moment and say thank you to your heart that beats and to your soul that guides you. Next, look up to the sky with a big smile on your face. Then, still smiling, close your eyes. Visualize the feeling of complete power and utter joy when you channel true self-belief through your entire body. And just feel that for a few minutes. You can call this a meditation or a prayer, whatever feels right to you. Take a few minutes to get still and continue to give appreciation for how far you’ve come, for the challenges you’ve faced and the obstacles you’ve overcome victoriously.”
I am on Koh Samui now. Unlike Koh Phangan, where I am constantly surrounded by people I know (I’ve spent a good amount of time on the island in the past few years. With my super power to make friends everywhere I go, you can imagine how many people I know on the island.)
In the past 4 years living the nomadic life, Koh Phangan has been my ‘home’. It’s the place I come back to every time I am tired of traveling and wanting to be at a place where people know my name. Where I know where to go and who to talk to for everything I need. It’s been my place of comfort living this adventurous, not knowing where I’ll be tomorrow or next week type of life.
The past two months being back on the island (from northern Thailand), I had been so happy to see my friends again. But as time goes, I feel more and more heavy with all the connections I have on the island. I gave it the term ‘connection fatigue’. I dreamt of being at a place where nobody knows me. Where I can camouflage into the background. Do whatever I want. Go wherever I want. It sounds funny this is what I was ‘dreaming of’. That’s why I’d been wanting to come to Samui to live a ‘simpler life’.
So here I am, living the dream. Ha!
Today is the second day of my trip. I woke up really late. Then I went to the cafe I went to the day before called “The Secret Brunch” which is a 2-minute drive from my house. I ended up staying there the whole afternoon reading my book “Believe IT” by Jamie Kern. I was so absorbed in the book that I couldn’t put it down. I only planned to get a coffee at the cafe but ended up staying for hours just reading. I felt a sense of peace and stillness and JOY to be able to devour myself with a great book.
Many people might be surprised to know (including me!) that my ideal vacation nowadays is where I could spend hours and hours reading a book without distraction or obligation to be anywhere (some call this getting old). It’s so simple yet so rejuvenating.
I live a life that many people think I am always out doing something interesting and adventurous. But in reality, I love living as simply as possible. And I am probably the laziest traveler I know. I usually stay in my house and not really go out much. I find joy in staying put and working on my creation at home.
To live in Lamai at the moment, I stay within the perimeter of 5km from my house. As soon as I find a coffee shop or a restaurant I like in a new city, it immediately becomes my go-to place almost every day. I like the simplicity of it. I think it brings a sense of familiarity and certainty to my uncertain life.
I am now sitting in front of my Macbook, facing the ocean with the full moon rising and shining in front of mah face. Oh my oh my. I cried a little over the beauty of all this.
This morning, I finally took the ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Samui. I had been wanting to do this trip for weeks now. Even though Koh Samui is right next to Koh Phangan, I wondered why it took me so long to finally do it.
I got a very nice sea-view Airbnb in the Lamai area. I was so happy the whole trip here as if I was really traveling. Though IT IS traveling, we on Koh Phangan wouldn’t consider going to Samui ‘traveling’.
Anyhow, I let my mom know I was here and sent her a picture from my Airbnb. And also a picture from my vacation the week before on the island. My man Avner had taken us on a mini staycation. Looking at those pictures of me, one week apart, I thought to myself and texted my mom “I have a really good life”. My mom replied, “Then, make sure you appreciate your life”.
Hearing this from my mom made me feel all the FEELS. It really hit my heart. Yes, I do very much appreciate my life and I will continue to do so and more after hearing this from my mom.
Sitting here in front of my Macbook Pro, facing the vast ocean, listening to the birds, I appreciate every inch of my life (is that even an expression?). My heart is so full. My joy and gratitude are showing up as tears in my eyes.
Thank you Life. Thank you Mom and Dad. For this beautiful life that I deeply appreciate.