For our first episode, I wanted to share with you a very special interview with Anna Tsui. Anna is a life and business coach whose mission is to guide others to become the best version of themselves. She believes that everyone has the potential to be successful but in order to be successful, one has to be open to the idea of change, of activating our untapped selves.
On our first episode, we explore where having low self-esteem might've stemmed from and how we can tackle it. To learn more about what being a life and business coach entails for Anna, visit her website at annatsui.com! Anna Tsui identifies herself as a second generation Chinese American.
Anna Tsui is an executive and leadership coach and international writer, speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She is the founder of The Intuitive Business School, an intensive program that helps coaches, healers, and business owners wake up to their power and build their signature programs, fearlessly create clients, scale their businesses and increase their revenue with ease and flow.
Anna is also a trained energy healer and practitioner of the Akashic Records. Her life philosophy is inspired by Zen Buddhism, Usui Reiki, ancient healing systems, TCM, yoga, dynamic meditation, her sometimes crazy Chinese family and secretly watching people at Starbucks. She was born on a farm in southern China, grew up along the crisp New England shores and currently resides in Texas.
TRANSCRIBED BY WINETTE VO
JESSICA NGUYEN, HOST: Today’s podcast is brought to you by Audible. Get a free audiobook download in a 30 day free trial at audibletrial.com/projectvoice. Over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or MP3 player.
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NGUYEN: Hi and welcome to Project Voice,a podcast series dedicated to increasing visibility on issues that Asians slash Asian American women face daily as well as providing a platform where our community can go to for guidance and resources.
My name is Jessica Nguyen and today I’ll be sharing with you a pre-recorded interview. Last summer, I had the opportunity to speak with one of the people who helped inspired me to create this podcast series for empowering Asian women. She believes that everyone has the potential to be successful, but in order to be successful, one has to be open to the idea of change, of activating untapped styles of thinking and exploring new selves. We got to sit down and have a heart to heart with what it means to grow up as Asian American women, touching upon a common issue that many Asian women face as well and that is having low self-esteem.
Here is Anna sharing her own childhood experience on what it is like to be compared by your parents and how that affected her personal development.
ANNA TSUI, INTERVIEWEE: Um, I always remembered being compared to other people, whether or not I knew these people so I was always compared to my cousin. I, you know, came to the country when I was about five years old, had to learn English. I remember bringing home a report card and it was pretty good grades and the teacher saying that, you know, Anna’s just a joy to have in class, right and then, my mom saying something along the lines of “Yeah, well, you know I know that your cousin whom you know got straight A’s and I’ve seen your class and it’s not that you’re the smartest kid in your class. It just that it seems like the other kids are just not as smart as you.” And I took that to mean that no matter what I did, you know, it was never good enough. Someone was always better or that I was only doing good because the other people weren’t even in my league to begin with. That created a lot of turmoil in me and, growing up, I never thought I was smart enough. I never thought that any of my achievements were worthy because someone was always doing better. And I would have to say that looking back on it, that really has caused a lot of suffering for me and it has caused a lot of invalidation of you know some of the great things I have done. And I feel that that sense of comparing to other people is really an endemic in the Asian culture and actually causes a lot of self esteem issues when we get into adulthood because we don’t really- I’ll just say me. I’m not able to fully accept the things that I do because I am always comparing to what other people are doing or how is someone doing this better and while sometimes that’s great when it doesn’t compare, when it doesn’t look good, internally there becomes a big struggle and I see that happening a lot.
NGUYEN: Parents may think that comparing us to our peers is a greater good encouraging us to be the best that we can be in a myriad of ways despite how harmful this behavior can be to their children. As a result, we begin to develop a sense of inadequacy when we don’t meet others’ expectations at a young age and over time, we depend more and more on outside sources like our parents’ approval in order to feel happy and self-fulfilled when in reality we shouldn’t be. Our sense of self-validation becomes evenly stripped away when we begin to doubt ourselves especially during times of hardship and unfamiliar challenges. As someone who also grew up having to build up her self-esteem, it’s taken me years to finally feel comfortable enough to share my voice with people. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s hear more from Anna with what she has to share on how we can make peace with ourselves and gain true self confidence.
TSUI: I didn’t realize I had low self-esteem until I was probably in my 20s because it shows up in different ways. I always thought that I just didn’t fit in, right. I always thought that I wasn’t good at stuff and it wasn’t until I was much older, you know, in my 20s, until I realize oh maybe it’s not that I’m not doing stuff that’s not good because other people are saying that I do have skills and I do do things that they think are admirable but when I figured out that I had this constant voice that basically invalidated everything that I did, I went to that source, to that voice and I started really like, getting to know that voice and I realized that voice was partially my voice and also partially the voices of my parents and my culture and my family and this way of being raised that invalidated a lot of my internal achievements and so I began to change that voice around and it took a really long time and it’s still a work in progress but It’s allowed me to achieve this incredible sense of freedom and it’s allowed me to just go forward and basically being a serial entrepreneur and, you know, quitting probably the best job that I ever had and maybe the only job that I will ever have, you know, the last job I’ll probably ever have and it’s allowed me to do a lot of really brave things and believe in myself in the process and been okay with not even telling my parents, right? In the beginning. And with other people saying you’re crazy. Look, I have a really amazing stable job and I’ve been able to buy a house and a car and do all these things and have these like nice vacations, and all this stuff so me first realizing I had this voice of doubt and invalidation taking away myself and seeking confidence and then being able to unpack that voice like where did it come from, like how does it show up in my life and then me being able to change that voice has really allowed me to be much braver in my life. So much happier, so much more myself, so much more free, a little weirder yeah, and altogether just unapologetic and happy and just feeling so connected and so free wherever I go, with whomever and for me, that's just a gift of really allowing me to be me, which I think is having a healthy sense of self esteem.
NGUYEN: Before I end this episode, I asked Anna on why she thinks an initiative like Project Voice is important to her and our community.
TSUI: This project is really important to me because what I learned about myself and what I learned about other people is people aren’t really fully comfortable being themselves yet and I can see that in my family, and I can see that in me, sometimes we’re so guarded right, and it’s really interesting because like you know people have these layers to them and it's like if you go deeper like underneath, each layer - actually almost like you’re peeling away these different layers which are protective mechanisms of our personalities, of our walls, of our insecurities, you get to this core were really there is this person who is really almost vulnerable, right? It’s like the young version of ourselves, it’s like the raw version of ourselves and because we weren’t taught how to really nurture and take care of ourselves and all of our talents and creativity and genius, what happens is we get criticized for it or we get compared to other people or you know we don’t get validated for our genius and then we have to develop these like, layers of protection, right - which can be anything from us trying to overcompensate for certain things or insecurities or self doubt, they just become these layers of stuff and then what happens is those layers actually keep us from being ourselves, which keeps us from authentic relationships, which keeps us from being really powerful of what we do and really owning our space in our lives and our jobs and being these superstars, right? And so I find that if you peeled away these layers till you find the essence and then teach the person all these skills that we should have learned right, when we were growing up, how to really take care of ourselves. Almost like if we had like a little kid, like how would we take care of this little kid? That’s what we are on the inside and then when we learn how to take care of ourselves, we begin to be more connected to our mission, we become more charismatic, we become more interesting, we become more alive and just like happier and more full of joy and we just laugh spontaneously and might be a little bit more weird right. We might be more active, we might be a little bit more quiet, but we’re just more authentic and that authenticity shows up in this way that draws people to us. It shows up in a way that we can just basically laugh with our parents or with people in our lives where we probably couldn’t have before because things were very serious or very quiet, right? And so my thing is that I want people to be activated in that way. I want people to know this other part of themselves which might have been hidden underneath like all these layers like five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty plus years of self defense mechanisms right of doubts, these negative thoughts and if we take those away and if we want to take care of ourselves, we just show up in this whole different way and I really want that for everyone and I especially want that for Asians because us as a community, I feel that we’re just really closed in when we could be more open and we couldn’t really embrace our total superpowers because we have a lot of amazing gifts and a lot of really deep intuitions that hasn’t even yet been unpacked so I would love to see all Asians and all people of general totally connected to their core and totally able to take care of themselves and totally able to teach this to other people so that we can just be like these shining balls of light and bring this positive impact and change and really love and compassion to ourselves first and then to people in our communities, that’s what we need the most of right now.
NGUYEN: I hope you enjoy this inspiring last words from Anna. Thank you for listening to the first episode of Project Voice and tune in next time.
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