It’s never too late to learn. Recognize that.
Last week, I had attended the Women's Startup Lab Tech event held in Taipei, tentatively curious at first ("What do I know about tech anyway??") but left with positive energy and a more upbeat attitude about my "blank slate" future. Founder Ari Horie gave a fantastic and inspiring speech in a storytelling manner which I so appreciated. Growing up in the small town of Hiroshima and raised by a single mother, she learned how to embrace her uniqueness from a small age and persistently trekked forward into her own path towards success. She used everything she knew and creatively sought out solutions to tackle what she didn’t know. The number one insight I learned is it's not so much about knowledge of what you know/or don't but about the relentless drive and passion you have towards your goal, and coming to it on YOUR TERMS. All of this along with being humble and coachable, working with what you have and being able to work well with other people- these are the differentiating factors that lead people to greatness.
This journey is yours and yours alone. The road to success is non-linear as the bumps you have along the way all correlate to your own personal struggle of how you waver with self-doubt and fear. The truth is that everybody goes through the same notions. Fear to live up to your full potential comes when you face the path towards cultivating your career/relationships and finding through time we all have more to lose down this road to the known and the unknown. Ego is constantly in the air and you hear all of these voices internally and externally influencing your decisions. I get all of that. I was there, still am, and I'm still learning.
Reeling after Ari's inspirational speech, I took LEARN as my second #BANDCHALLENGE series and walked away with a relentless pursuit towards dissecting this WORD OF INTENT/VALUE and everything it associates itself with.
[WHAT IT TAKES TO LEARN]
If you reader, wish to embark on this BANDCHALLENGE yourself, please ask yourself the following questions.
INITIAL QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
1. What does “LEARN” mean to you?
2. What do you wish to learn?
3. What is the best way for you to learn?
4. Why do you wish to learn this?
FINAL QUESTION AFTER REFLECTION (One week!)
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ?!?!
Here is my week which I will share for accountability/storytelling purposes
(VIA TIFFLIN INTERPRETATION)
1. WHAT DOES “LEARN” MEAN TO YOU?
Wikipedia says "Learning is the act of acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behavior, skills, values, or preferences and synthesizing different types of information. Learning is not compulsory but contextual. It does not happen all at once, but builds upon and is shaped by what we already know. To that end, learning may be viewed as a process, rather than a collection of factual and procedural knowledge."
TIFF: For me, in my own words, learning is just a natural process that comes when I'm surrounded by novelty (books/tech/people/environment) and I'm trying to make sense of it all. To learn something for me means to shift through my preconceived notions and build upon what I used to know taking this new experience at hand.
2. WHAT DO YOU WISH TO LEARN?
This is important and can be general to specific. From learning a new skill (I want to learn how to play guitar), to a way of being (I want to learn how to be a better lover), to a new practiced system (I want to learn how to break bad habits), there’s so much you can do to build upon what you know. Starting from beginner or not.
TIFF: I challenge myself on my quest this week to learn how to follow my heart, how to find my passion, and find what drives me.
Leaving my job recently in rural China, I didn’t have much placed in value in terms of self worth. "How do I adulthood??" "Where do I see myself in the professional space?" Am I ready for a new relationship? A new job? A new place to call home? I’m definitely working on it now and find what an incredible time it is to learn ALL OF THE THINGS!!! I have freedom to explore and travel and rediscover what I stand for. It’s time to hustle. It’s time to learn
I want to learn how to love. I want to learn how to reconnect and network effectively. I want to learn what makes me tick. I want to learn what I am naturally good at. I want to learn how to be a good leader and influential storyteller and communicator. I want to learn it is okay to fail. And to fail hard and get back up again.
I don’t want the excuses to repeat in my head “I don’t know enough about this to even start.” “I know I’m just going to fail.” “It’s too hard and isn’t expected of me anyway.” I want to learn perseverance.
All of these may sound broad, but for me it’s what I need (big picture) in this grand scale of starting over and living an authentic life following my interests/passions/skills/feelings.
3. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY FOR YOU TO LEARN?
I'm actually going to dedicate a different post to this but check out Roger Hamilton's How You Learn like a GENIUS: You can find the video here for the basic gist..
Essentially, everyone has a most natural way of learning/leading/loving/living. Understand your personality type or your "GENIUS "(4 in total) and you can format your learning structure and ensure your team/family/community that the best way to coexist with you is based on your own specific way you break and understand information. You can take the test here to discover which sort of GENIUS type you are: My GeniusU test.
Dynamo Genius (Ideas Smart)
You are great at starting things, but not so good at finishing. Greats from Einstein to Steve Jobs and Richard Branson share this genius.
Blaze Genius (People Smart)
You love people, but get distracted quickly. Icons from Marilyn Monroe to Oprah and Donald Trump share this genius.
Steel Genius (Detail Smart)
You take care with detail, but are often over-cautious. Figures from Warren Buffett to Henry Ford and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg share this genius.
Tempo Genius (Senses Smart)
You are grounded, but often get lost in activity. Leaders from Gandhi to Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa share this genius.
Also VAK learning system, take the questionnaire here to discover if you are a Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic learner
Visual learning style involves the use of seen or observed things, including pictures, diagrams, demonstrations, displays, handouts, films, flip-chart, etc.
Auditory learning style involves the transfer of information through listening: to the spoken word, of self or others, of sounds and noises.
Kinesthetic learning involves physical experience - touching, feeling, holding, doing, practical hands-on experiences.
Here’s one question to quickly discover your learning style:
When seeking travel questions, I…
- Look at a map (Visual)
- Ask for spoken directions (Auditory)
- Follow my nose or maybe use a compass (Kinesthetic)
Find what sort of learner you are and then proceed accordingly to the best steps to tackle how you learn this week.
As a BLAZE Genius, I learned that my leadership style is people-based and I thrive best when I seek a variety of new experiences with new connections.
If I'm not in a healthy environment where I cannot learn by connecting with people and putting it to immediate action, (am coerced to learn in a different format), I usually relapse and quiver in self-doubt for not understanding the concept or getting it right intuitively. The easiest way to put me down is to teach me how to analyze numbers by looking at a spreadsheet and then ridicule me that I'm not getting it fast enough.
I am a mostly auditory and slightly kinesthetic learner. I find that I learn the best through talking to people, asking them to teach me, and then sharing/doing what I’ve learned right away, putting it in practice multiple times to apply it. I learn the best by listening/doing/teaching. I learn best through connecting with people and hearing/speaking/reiterating/even talking to myself.
Side note: I remember learning origami at the age of 10. My sister was a natural and would easily fold beautiful origami learning straight from the book. I would get so upset with myself that I couldn’t learn as quickly. It was only when she finally spoke to me and taught me side by side, that I could finally learn and then through own practice finally got the technique down. 4 Paper cranes later!
So in respect to being both auditory and kinesthetic, I have molded my LEARNING map to get the most out of this one week of hustling and learning.
(Keep in mind, my goals are to learn about my passion and discover what drives me. I want to learn what I am good at and what are the next step.)
CONNECT. ASK. INTERVIEW
(Learn by speaking)
I will learn by connecting with old friends, meeting new friends. Asking questions persistently. Coming from an open and honest place. Networking and understanding the stories of like-minded people who influence and inspire me.
I will learn by going to community-rich events, conferences, workshops, office spaces, parks. I will learn by conversing with all types of people from all walks of the earth. I will remain open to new possibilities wherever that may take me.
CULTIVATE. COLLABORATE. CREATE
(Learn by doing)
Surrounding myself with mentors or more knowledgable people and asking away. By cultivating community and having an authentic conversation, identifying mutual interest and dynamic capabilities, to connect the dots and move towards next steps with collaboration and creation.
Creating actionable and tangible plans. Writing more.
4. WHY DO YOU WANT TO LEARN?
Look, if you aren’t passionate about what you want to learn or are currently learning, take a second and reflect how effective your approach is so far and your learning curve.
I remember when I was studying Chinese in school, as students we all followed the rote memorization of hand writing lines and lines of Chinese characters as an "effective" learning method. When it came to exam day, I was that person scribbling away in her notebook, hanging on to that last memory of the last stroke. Once the exam was over, I would come out of it as if I just came out of a coma, and right away would have the biggest brain fart ever—my memory would flush everything out to make room for the next new 50 characters I needed to memorize by next week. I’d pass the exam but what’s the value of that? If someone asked me to write down the character I wrote 100 times over again a week ago, I’d say “screw you.”
Memorization is different from true understanding and applied knowledge. I didn’t care about learning Chinese characters back then and even now at this time of my life. There’s PLECO and everyone is texting via keyboard/PINYIN anyway. I don’t think I wasted my time necessarily but it's just one example of the importance of questioning WHY you want to learn before you embark on the adventure. There’s value in being naturally curious about what it is you want to learn and following that pure drive. What is your motive?
TIFF: I want to learn because I want to grow. I want to live an authentic life where I am passionate about whatever it is I am doing, regardless of how unconventional the journey is and the amount of time it takes to get there. I want to learn because I’m invested in myself. Because for the first time ,I feel like I want to throw up in utter excitement at the infinite possibilities. I want to learn because I value my worth.
5. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED??!!
This should be your longest response. After a week, please take proper reflection time. I took a whole day in HK (opportunity cost: a fun day of hiking!) for this. Ultimately, it wasn’t about what I had learned, but how I learned that I’m going to emphasize. This was my major insight. I encourage you to do the same or at least place more emphasis on how you learn and structure your learning format to get closer to your goals. The truth is that you’re always learning. It’s taking the appropriate measures to know how you learn and what you want to learn that can make all of the difference. It's the process and its a journey.
My challenge was to learn how to follow my heart, how to find my passion, and find what drives me.
For the sake of respecting the privacy of my personal relationships, I can say that I learned a lot about my self and capacity for love. For forgiveness, acceptance, respect, truth, loyalty. In giving and taking. I learned more about the vague concept of vulnerability when you let someone old and new into your life. I learned that I am a lovely person!
Closure- a respect for endings and knowing what to salvage.
Nurture- a respect for new beginnings and going with wherever it takes you.
In the beauty of fleeting moments and perseverance.
I learned in a sense how to value loving myself as an intense person and to navigate my energy level towards people who complement me. I learned the rawness of what it means to be honest in your quest for the truth.
How did I learn:
By talking and sharing through authentic heartfelt conversation. No malicious intentions or ulterior motives. By being completely transparent. By believing that LOVE begins with being honest with yourself.
I learned that I can be excited over many things all at once and in multiple spaces/places/time, but what drives me is my passion to connect with people. My passion for storytelling and my pursuit to work on it DRIVE me.
As a BLAZE Genius, I learned that my leadership style is people-based, focusing on keeping strong relationships and that I lead best when encouraging and motivating others. How I thrive depends on me seeking a variety of new experiences with new connections. I value fun and entertainment in my relationships. My strength is to communicate: always putting people first, communicating, and connecting. My weakness is analysis and detailed calculation (don’t put me in front of spreadsheets.) I often see the excitement, but often miss the detail. I love people, but get easily distracted.
How did I learn:
SO MUCH value placed on talking and reconnecting with old friends and meeting new friends who I admire. Really, these people are doing GREAT things!! Just sitting for coffee/beer and sharing stories can influence so much of my behavior, learning about their background and their own success/failure stores and taking mental notes. I realize that everybody's journey is different but the value of empathy and shared experiences are so validating for me to hear. Just being in the right nurturing environment and speaking to the right people. From Taipei to Hong Kong. Family and friends. Special shoutout to Andrew, Drew, Jane, Zona, Cordelia, Fiona, Clarence, Iris, Sarah for taking the time to share yourself while listening.
BEING AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME
During this crazy week, aside from reconnecting with friends and setting up informal interviews, I also made it my priority to attend intellectually and creatively stimulating events, workshops, and conferences:
I went to Artists Bridge the Gap an all day painting charity event bringing together artists around Taipei to come together, paint a piece to auction off at the end of the day; 100% of the proceeds go to support the LGBT refugees in Germany. I found out about the event through a random spontaneous night out drinking with my cousin last week and bumping into the co-founder of Redroom, Manav, at the same rechao spot. This random encounter speaks a lot about my spontaneous and organic approach to life and the way the universe works. Also following instinct and intuition. I love these natural connections!
RedRoom is a thriving community within Taipei that hosts events and provides the nurturing space to promote freedom of artistic and creative expression. I’ve always heard great things. This was the best place to get me to network with creatives and like-minded people.
Networking with creators and curators becomes so much less nerve wracking than networking with business people back in my NYU Stern days. All it really starts with is a natural smile and I’ll already be hearing ,“HEY, wanna paint? Or “Hey Sweetie, how are you doing??,” then comes the rush of great palpably exciting conversations. YES, TO THE RIGHT VIBES!
I met and connected with a writer/poet who offered me advice and mental support. Also met a passionate girl who planned the whole event and educated me more about the charity itself in support of the Queer Refugees Network Leipzig. Through them, I rediscovered my respect for people who are truly passionate and driven about what they love. Mad respect.
I also met Sam and Vali, who introduced me to PeaceStreet Community within Taipei. Similar to RedRoom’s mentality of connectivity and creativity, PeaceStreet is also dedicated to building an uplifting environment through co-creation. By sharing myself and my reMINDmebands mindfulness project, we were able to instantly connect on the same values and next week plan to have discussions on future collaboration. I gave him my BREATHE BAND and so started my slow push. It just takes one. :)
The next day, I flew right into Hong Kong for the RISE Tech Conference.
I am without a doubt absolutely lucky and fortunate to have a network of very supporting and influential friends. Iris, who works at Google, hooked me up with a free ticket for the event. Here I had 3 nights of legendary networking, listening to speakers from big companies who started small, new startups who are pitching to the world what they are passionate about solving. The best and most effective and intellectual way for me to pretty much get a glimpse of the future of tech.
Keep in mind: I had been under the Firewall in China for 2 years. This has been a lot of stimuli….
I rediscovered my passion for meeting new people and absorbing their energies. Through the speaker series, I’ve understood the power of storytelling and branding, staying true to your community and to your voice. Special note to Sharad Devarajan, CEO of Graphic India, and Roger Hamilton, founder of Wealth Dynamics and GeniusU ! Check these guys out, seriously.
Through listening to other startups pitch me at their booths, I saw the value of presence. By observing how others present their idea of how to fill a need (medical/education/gaming/tech/ecommerce/design) and realizing how it isn’t necessarily about the idea itself, but the people involved and how they’ve been able to execute so far. I could easily see from their energies how to measure passion and predict sustainability and success.
Through lunch and beer networking conversations with my old friend Clarence and other second family gen business owners, I began to see the value of my resources and put some thought into how to pivot; to view the access of the 30 years of relationships my father's company stands for in a positive way and to think about the infinite possibilities of future collaborations with people in the same situation. All very compelling...will have more to follow...
I left these 3 days with a stack full of business cards and an enriched yet fatigued memory of insightful conversations that all factor on how I approach possible next-steps. From speaking with the Director of UX in HK to the startup dad who wins my personal favorite for best idea: Dotted Story, I plan on nurturing these connections. This is where my drive comes from! PEOPLE!
Anyway, I can go on and on about what I’ve learned. It hurts my head to reflect even further from this point. It’s been a crazy week but I feel balanced at the same time. Speaking and networking by day AND drinking and socializing by night. Living it up in HK! You've given me a mental bootcamp and I'm still kickin!!!
Also actionable next steps for future collaboration....this brings me to.....
NEXT WEEK #BANDCHALLENGE: COLLABORATE
If you want to join me on this journey with me as I’m doing it (#wordswithaction), think about these following questions
- What does "Collaborate" mean for you?
- How do you plan on opening yourself up for future collaboration?
- How have you lived up to the word "Collaborate" (one week later)
I'd love for you to share with me (!!!)
With gratitude, Thanks for listening,