My story of life challenges and opportunities began before I was born. I was born in Singapore to a Chinese mother and a Filipino father; they were of different religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds. My family moved to the Philippines when I was a teenager and then moved again to the land of opportunities, the United States; specifically, to the New York City. It was in the Big Apple that I strove for and achieved the American dream.
Yes, being an overachieving Asian American, I climbed the corporate ladder - worked hard (and smart) and dedicated my life to my career. I was a leader in my field (hospital and health care administration), respected for my expertise and loved by my team. And yes, I bumped my head many a times on the glass ceiling and the bamboo ceiling (coined Jane Hyun), but still kept at it because it was what I was supposed to do. Or at least thought I was supposed to do. Then, to use a fancy term, I was “phased out” of my job of over 20 years. I was replaced by a younger, less experienced person who probably took the job for half my pay. I was not surprised, because I had been proactive with my retirement plans, or as I call it my “protirement”. In my mind, I was saying to myself, “Yayy, now I have the time and the money… I can do whatever I want!” In my heart, not going in to work, surrounded by my people hit me hard – I was angry, sad, disappointed, guilty. I felt that I was a failure to myself to my family. In retrospect, I was grieving for my identity, the old Nena.
Finally, after months, I finally made a decision. I was not and will never be the old me - ever. I decided to figure out my life strategy. I realized that I had inner strength and resilience. I was so busy being miserable, that I forgot that through the years I overcame microaggressions and blatant discriminations. I swam with the sharks and survived. I was like a rubber ball, always able to bounce back despite setbacks. Throughout my career my forte was – turning crisis situations into viable opportunities. It was time to take control of this crisis, which was my life.
My acceptance of my new opportunity to create a new and improved version of Nena was liberating; but super scary. I had to be truthful to myself. I asked myself THE question – “What do you really want in life?” I re-evaluated my values, I utilized my project planning skills to formulate a realistic strategy using and acquiring the skills and resources to achieve my goal. My end goal was to find the intersection of purpose and passion. It was not easy. It was a process. I discovered the intersection. It is my life mission “to help others transform themselves into the person they are meant to be”.
It would be my privilege to be able to help you in your transformation. I invite you to take flight (like a butterfly) and live!