My name is Elaine and ever since I was a little girl, I knew of 3 things:
1) I wanted to save the world somehow.
2) I loved music.
3) I was going to travel the world.
My parents always told me to get my head out of the clouds, as if dreaming was a bad thing. Being a first generation Chinese American, I grew up in an extremely strict and conflicting household where dreaming was the only constant that kept me safe and hopeful during the darkest of times. My parents came here from China to give their future children a better life, and they tried hard to instill their version of the American dream into our minds. But in my heart, I knew that my path was going to be carved out a little differently.
My dream careers in chronological order went something like: singer, cartoonist, fashion designer, actress, model, producer before finally landing solid between knowing that I’d be a badass business woman and serving in the non-profit space somehow. The entire family was shocked when I made it into UC Davis, which was definitely due to my involvement with activism at an early age and my compelling essays. My grades were mediocre at best, as the rebel in me managed to cut half of school and charming my teachers at the same time. Despite almost not telling my parents about the acceptances into multiple UC schools because I had no desire to go, it was the first time they were proud of me. That was really the beginning of me always treading a fine line between who I was authentically versus the person I thought my parents wanted me to be. Pretending as if I was into school like they expected, choosing an unconventional career path per their standards, to making way more money than most college graduates while being a UC Davis drop out myself. I valued paving my own path, hands on learning, and freedom over preached stability.
At the age of 26, I was VP of my company and in talks of becoming the junior partner. Although it looked great on paper and in the bank account, I was once again unfulfilled. No sales reports, fat commission checks or unlimited PTO was satisfying enough as I felt the passion inside burning out. My friends always asked me why I always continued to be a seeker, and just could not stay put where I was at. Sometimes I got annoyed at my own constant need to discover the next layers to peel back, always in search of the next deeper meaning of life and fulfillment. I went searching, interviewing a ton of non-profits to see if that would be the my next chapter. Discovering all the rules and regulations, I knew that would not be the career path for me as I valued freedom, creativity and lived by my own set of rules. So instead, I decided to turn down the partner position, quit my job, start my own music and charity platform, pack up my bags and move from San Francisco to New York! Despite being a six-figure earner, I had also been spending like there was no tomorrow, so it was a quick series of decisions I made with no Plan B. I debated the decision of sticking it out another year to stack up some cash, but decided that life was too short to wait around on pursuing what came calling. I had always been a heart-focused person and worked well under pressure anyway.
Fast forward nearly 6 years, I have started multiple businesses and passion projects, from my original music and charity platform Neon Owl, a coaching business where I help others in branding and career transitions, an artist development platform Open Door Sessions, a greeting cards business Liberation Culture, to my latest skincare business with Rodan and Fields. For the longest time, people told me that I had so much energy and that I would be unstoppable if I focused it on just one thing. After years of trial and error, constant visits from my friend the imposter syndrome, self doubt, and failing forward, I’ve come to embrace my multi-passionate self. I have come to embrace my abundance of interests and embrace the power of pivoting with purpose. We all have seasons of our lives and for as long as our mission, vision, and WHY remains the same, I believe that there can often be more than one vehicle to us achieving our goals if only we stay open to it. Who said I could only be one thing? Apparently, my parents did. But I’ve been a black sheep my whole life anyway, so why not have some fun while creating impact along the way? My mission is to inspire millions in my lifetime, and billions beyond to live a life that is authentic to them, going after their passions while making a positive impact in this world. What is yours vision and have you embraced your vehicles to carry you throughout this journey of life? Whether you are “coming out” to your parents as the authentic you, going through your career transition, building your brand or passion project, I have been there and I am with you! Cheers to taking the leap of faith and being willing to risk what most aren’t, because only in that are we able to create the life and impact most won’t.
With Love + Energy,