Career Tips for International Students

Farewell 2023: Embracing Change Beyond Boundaries

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In this special episode, join us for a heartfelt farewell to the year 2023 as we celebrate the resilience and strength discovered through genuine connections in the world of solopreneurship. Our guests,
Nannapat Sage and Meenakshi Iyer, share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs, proving that a strong support system is more than just essential—it’s transformative.

Podcast Transcript

Coach Kwan: Welcome international students and educators to a special year end episode. This is the last episode of our season two. Landing CPT, OPT and H-1B jobs. A career guide for international students brought to you by ICAway.

Coach Kwan: I’m your host Kwan Segal. As we look back on this roller coaster of the year, one thing stands out, when times get tough, Having a strong support system is key to getting through it. Right? And today I’m super excited because I’ve got two awesome expat, solopreneur friends here with me, Nanna and Meenakshi. Nanna, Meenakshi., thank you so much for joining me today. And to kick off, could you please introduce yourself a little bit to our listeners? Nanna, let’s start with you.

Nanna: Hi. I’m so happy to be here in your show and as the last show of the year. So my name is Nannapat.

Nanna: You can call me coach Nanna. So I specialize in helping executives and teams thrive in uncertain times And rapid changing business landscape. So, I help leaders with the strategies and new mindset Needed to navigate and excel in ambiguity. So happy to be here and I’m Excited to be sharing my thought and experience and ups and down with you.

Coach Kwan: Awesome.

Coach Kwan: Your work is so important, Nanna. Thank you for being here. And now, Meenakshi, we would love to hear your story too.

Meenakshi: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Kwan, thank you for having me here.

Meenakshi: And it’s lovely to share space with you and Nanopat and sort of share our experience here As expats, solopreneurs here in the US, my name is Meenakshi Iyer, and I come with a twenty five year interdisciplinary career in technology adoption and people development in India and in the US. And over the last four years, I’ve been Focused on serving as a personal agility, self leadership, and change leadership coach and then the founder and principal of Northstar Solutions and Services LLC, where we partner with executives and organizations in unpacking leadership at the messy middle. And we’re gonna get into that a little bit during our conversation. But my the reason I chose to call it the messy middle and focus on that is in my experience and research, the mid level segment in most organizations are, While they bring the most value, they are not always as supported when it comes to their learning and development and professional development needs.

Meenakshi: And that’s what I focus So I focus on partnering with mid level leaders, women in technology, and folks like us who speak English as an additional language in their people and change leadership journeys lovely to be here and thank you once again for sharing space with us hosting us

Meenakshi: Of course, your work is so crucial as well. You know, I’m so thrilled to have you two with me today. And before we dive into our conversation, I want to take this moment to share with our listeners why I’m so excited about having Nanna and Meenakshi on this podcast today. Because in this journey of navigating the ups and downs of the year, these two incredible friends of mine have become more than just guest speakers today. They are my integral part of my own support system.

Coach Kwan: And uh, today’s episode is not just about the interview is the conversation is a celebration of the strength that we’ve come together here from our genuine connections. So Nanna and Meenakshi, thank you again for being my support system throughout the year. Let us dive into our conversation and explore the importance of having a support system in the world of solopreneur. We all three of us are expats, not just You know, solopreneur but we are expect as well coming from a different countries and now in the US. Maybe before we kick start the first question, Can you share with us a little bit where you are calling from?

Coach Kwan: Meenakshi., where are you calling in from right now?

Meenakshi: I’m based in Virginia on the East Coast of the US.

Coach Kwan: Awesome. Awesome. And where are you originally from?

Meenakshi: I’m originally from India. I moved to the US fifteen Ten years ago now? Yeah. I moved here in two thousand and eight.

Meenakshi: I was an accompanying spouse.

Coach Kwan: Amazing. What about you, Nanna?

Nanna: So I’m based in Novi, Michigan. It’s close to Detroit and originally from Bangkok, Thailand And I have been in the US since end of 2014 so it’s almost ten years.

Coach Kwan: Same time line with me. We’re from the same country, same time line, but one interesting fact is that we never met each other before we got connected just a few years ago I think just right before the pandemic hit, I believe at, you know, around two thousand nineteen. Right? Nanna.

Coach Kwan: Yeah. Just so surprising. You know, how how things happen, how life turns out. Okay. Now I have, you know, some interesting questions to To ask you two, in a year filled with its fair share of hurdles like 2023, Can you share a specific challenge you faced as an expat solopreneur and how your support system played a role in overcoming it.

Coach Kwan: Nanna, can you start with this?

Nanna: Sure. Being a solopreneur itself is Quite a lonely journey and it seemed like okay well I I I feel like I have it all but then I don’t. So it’s more like when you move two step forward and three three step backward all the time. So this is a journey that, you know, if if I can just feel like I’m I’m ahead, but then again, I feel behind that, you know, the constant feeling like this.

Nanna: Right? And then when I I am I can’t get ahead without the support for sure because the feeling that I have is not Alien to any other entrepreneur or solopreneur. It is the same feeling that many of us share And you can’t avoid feeling lonely. You can’t avoid feeling like you’re not there yet because it’s a journey. Also you can’t avoid comparing yourself to the other people who’s already successful as well.

Nanna: Right? So, that’s why support system has been so So important because when you share, it’s like, oh, I have done that too. Oh, I feel like that too. Oh, This is something that I have done. Have you tried it yet?

Nanna: Right. So it’s something that help, like, and then, you know, become a community, become help with the feeling of, oh, you’re not alone in your journey even though you are doing your own business, building your own This is a journey. You’re not alone in this entrepreneurial journey. Right? So the support system help with My mental strength and also help with the a few strategies as well.

Nanna: So that has been a great journey when when I have the Without support, I don’t think I can come this far.

Coach Kwan: Excellent. You’re so right. You know, it’s not just about the strategy. It’s not about just about how to.

Coach Kwan: It’s that mental strength too, which is even more important than the strategy because strategy can be changing all the time, but The strength from within is so important. And, Meenakshi, I would love to hear your thoughts on this question too.

Meenakshi: Yes. I could I will I could relate to so much of what Nannabhad shared just now. So all of that, I I’ve experienced as well, particularly this year.

Meenakshi: The one other thing I would add to it, and I think that comes from the dimension of Us being expats here in the US is not having those Networks to start with or having difficulty in in getting into in penetrating some of these networks where folks like us can find our ideal clients and, you know, do the impactful work that we know we The capability and the capacity to do. So I think that has been that’s been a challenge that I have experienced it particularly this year.

Coach Kwan: Awesome. You’re so right. I think three of us you know, have similar kind of purpose.

Coach Kwan: Right? Our work is not just like transactional. You know, I trade this one, you pay me this one. We more like want to create impact. Yes.

Coach Kwan: And having the support system will help us figure out how we can continue doing what we want to do and creating impact and also make a living as an entrepreneur as well. Alright. Now, let us move on to the next one. We all know building a support system, strong support system is so crucial.

Coach Kwan: Can you please share a story about how a particular connection or mentorship has influenced your entrepreneurial journey. Some example would be great Meenakshi, would you like to start?

Meenakshi: Yeah, certainly it was hard for me to just Line up one example because I think, like, how all three of us met and the energy that We gain from our conversations and our camaraderie. Right? So there’s there’s several like that.

Meenakshi: But when I had to sort of work hard to pick one, I think that this comes to my what comes to mind is my experience from Actually, last year. Yeah. 2022. A dear friend and she I consider her a mentor as well especially when it comes to my business. And she’s also an expat, but she’s been here in the US longer.

Meenakshi: And she opened the door for me for my first corporate client because this was something that she was not able to Serve the client at the time. The timelines didn’t work out. They had been in talks for more than a year. And then and she had attended my first talk at the Women in Agile launching new voices so that I you know, I was a I was a mentee in that program, and she had attended my talk. It was a seven minute talk where I was mentored by other folks in the women in agile community.

Meenakshi: And that’s how we have connected, and that was more than that was in 2020. So I also wanna do a sidebar here. This goes to show how good things take time to happen, And you never know about the kind of impact you’re leaving on someone. That’s what I learned from that experience. So anyhow, so when she reached out to me and and she Ask me if I was available and if I was interested in this program that she was no longer able to support.

Meenakshi: And that became my first corporate client, and it was a huge success. And I designed and developed and delivered my what has now become my flagship program, which is Unpacking Leadership. It’s an immersive twelve week three month long program in that mid level leaders And and I was so fortunate and grateful for this experience because this is my ideal client. You know, it’s a technology company, and the training the investment was made by the CTO’s office, and that’s the kind of work that I want to do and so it was a phenomenal experience so that’s that’s the one that comes to mind and I’m so happy that I’m able to share that now I do.

Coach Kwan: That’s great.

Coach Kwan: That’s great. You know, all we need is just that one first person that give us a chance and you found that person that create the transformation in your life and she she will always be remembered. Yeah, I have something like that too. Meenakshi., thank you for sharing. Nanna, I would love to hear your story too.

Nanna: Like Meenakshi. Was saying, it’s it’s hard to pick one. I’m blessed to be able to work with so many great teachers and mentors. Right? Paid and Not paid. Right.

Nanna: So but I think if one I have to choose one, I I will choose the one that, Probably shape the way that I that I could get out of the minority Um, mindset myth, it’s a paid mentorship. Having a community of like minded people.

Nanna: So sometime sometime you need to pay for it as well to be in those kind of community. And this so I can name him. His name is Ajit Nawalkh. He’s a founder of Evercoach. At about two thousand sixteen, that’s when I Didn’t know if I could set up a coaching business.

Nanna: So if I I didn’t know if if I have the capability as a coach, Who am I to you know, formation to be a business coach and leadership coach over here in the US? Right? And then, At that time, I was here in the US about two years already. So the transition when I came in into the US, there’s a lot of Mindset that trying to impose in me from from the culture, from whatever other people were thinking. Well, obviously, when we came here, we didn’t know that minority myths exist.

Nanna: Right. Because we were the majority where we came from. Right. And and then came here, I just Say, oh, you are you’re different. You’re Asian.

Nanna: You and you’re coming from having international mindset. Over here, it was a culture shock, and then it reduced my confidence. And it affect a lot of my confidence and And how I can turn things around even though I had such a great background to to coach international leaders. Like you’re talking about CEO of a company in a country leader but then when I came here I became like a tiny person.

Nanna: So this person, they got into the program and and and he was a great Example. Now he’s from India. He didn’t have a lot to come with him, and he didn’t have the credential and then he turned things around, and and now he’s a founder of one of very successful coaching company So I looked into that, and he said, It’s not about the color, the look, and signature. It’s about the value that you bring. So because of that mentorship, I work with him with, like so so many, like, Programs and and also one on one as well.

Nanna: So, because of that, then I can turn the situation around not going back.

Coach Kwan: Excellent example, Nanna. And you know, we all have that imposter syndrome. Right? And coming here starting your life over our life over we always have like questions in our head.

Coach Kwan: And I’m I’m glad that you shared this example of the paid um, you know, mentorship because sometimes people need to invest in themselves. And, yeah, there are people that, you know, willing to jump on the call, speak with you, but those are just one time conversation. It doesn’t have a system. It doesn’t have a solid proven methodology. So sometimes you just need to start investing in yourself.

Coach Kwan: Awesome. Thank you for sharing with me. Now we have other some other, you know, interesting questions waiting. Let us move on to the next one. I would like us to reflect on the past year.

Coach Kwan: What’s one key lesson you have learned about resilience, adaptability as an expat solopreneur? And how has that lesson impacted your approach to your business? Who would like to start first? Would like to share I know that you have done some incredible work you know with your business this year

Meenakshi: thank you thank you and you know before I respond to that I also wanted to Say something when Nanna shared about her experience and and, you know, getting into a paid mentorship program and the impact that it had, I was reminded of how You had been accepted into that was female foundry. That was 2020.

Meenakshi: That was not a paid program, But it was a structured mentorship program. And because you sent out my way, I applied, and I got in, and we were in the same cohort. And that was, I think a few months after we had first met. Right. And and we have yet all three of us I I have yet to meet the two of you in person, and that’s The that’s the beauty of everything that we are doing today.

Meenakshi: So I was reminded of that, and I was feeling very grateful Full because the I am still in touch with that mentor. Mhmm. And, you know, we try to meet at least we up until last year, we would meet every month. And then this year, it’s been more like once a quarter. But, like, we definitely make sure that we meet before the year ends.

Meenakshi: And so I do, like, a business review with him, and that has had such a big impact on on the way I look at my business. And one of the my big takeaways from that Mentorship program in 2020 because it was right before my practice had turned one, that one year old. So I just started in 2019. And the big takeaway for me was I finally started looking at myself As a woman in technology, because until then, I felt like I’d always had tech adjacent roles. Although I’m a trained Programmer.

Meenakshi: I’ve never really done that for, you know as as a job. And I also started looking at myself as a business owner, And the clarity around messaging that so those are my big takeaways from that mentorship program. As Nara was Sharing her, that came to mind, and I wanted to plug that in. And, you know, it it also ties back to the question that you asked about resilience. I think this past year I’ve had my fair share of disappointments in terms of you know anticipated business not coming through people that I thought we had had a good connection not responding to my proposals, And, you know, I’ve had quite a few of those, and those are the times when I question everything.

Meenakshi: And and then I keep wondering how long I can sustain what I do. How can I sustain my business? The because I’m totally self funded as I know the two of you are as well. And but I also those are the times when I remind myself of two things. One is, why did I start NOSROS solutions and services?

Meenakshi: The purpose of it. And the same mentor who her name is Anjali, by the way, Anjali Leon. Anjali and I, we we talk often. And of the things she had said was that as Solub for years, what we are really doing is redesigning our lives. We are choosing a different way of life.

Meenakshi: And that really stayed with me because I think that outside of the impact that I wanna create and the that I have through Northstar Solutions and Services, which is to really invest in mid level leadership development for mid level leaders. I also I’m very aware that I’m doing this because I’m done with Keeping work as the center of my life and designing my life around it, and I’m ready to flip it where work is one of the things that I do. It’s one of the It is a very important part of my life, but it is an important part of my life. It is not my whole life. So now I’ve chosen to design my life and then my business is a part of it so reminding myself of that why like there is an facing why, which is the impact that I wanna create and the love and the way I want to make a living or earn a living.

Meenakshi: And the internal facing why is how I wanna design my life. So really, you know, going back to that and I actually have a diary where I handwritten this when I first started even before I my business. So I when I’m down, I go back to that, and I actually look at the words that I had written down. And that’s a lot of it’s a source of strength. The second thing that has helped me sort of stay the course and be resilient is to celebrate the things that have gone well and Also reminding myself that success criteria we often tend to use money or status As success criteria because that’s what we’ve been programmed to believe.

Meenakshi: anD if if I really step away from that, Then the impact that I’m able to create, the people that I’m able to reach even if it’s not paid work, like, financially, it’s not paid. But I know that I’m making a difference, and I know that I’m paying it forward because I’m sitting on a mountain load of privilege at this point to be able to even do this. Right? Because I always say this if I was single or if I was the the main owner in the family I would still be in that job that I was in four years ago so I know that there’s a lot of support that I have even within my family unit that enables me to do the work that I do. So, really the way that what has helped me stay the course and remain resilient is reminding myself of the why And also taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate the the journey and the milestones within the journey.

Coach Kwan: Love that. Nanna, what do you think? Any thoughts on this?

Nanna: Love your story.

Nanna: Look look at your why is always A very good strategy for you to to review when you when you at the down moment. Right? So when you’re questioning yourself For sure. So well, resilience. We all have very high resilience as As solopreneur, for sure.

Nanna: Because things are not going as planned, typically. Right? When you plan, it typically don’t go as planned. And life happens sometimes. Right?

Nanna: That that pull us away from from the plan. But the ability to pivot And reinvent again and again. That’s resilience. Okay. So, I think one thing that helped me and also help with my clients when we are looking at Imposter syndrome.

Nanna: When we’re looking at I’m not I’m not good. Right? So yo, I I don’t have what it take. I can’t do it. So, always look at how far you have come.

Nanna: Mhmm. Mhmm. Because this is a journey and you have traveled very far already. If you look back, look at the time line that you already accomplished. Right.

Nanna: So you have come very far, but to go further, then then it means that you have the ability to go further. Something that you already faced today, it doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen before. It did. Mhmm. But in different chair form capacity.

Nanna: Right. So you have the ability to encounter those already. So if you look back, then you can have that strength to move forward because you have done well. Like for me, when I look back very down and this year so I wanted to change the business model and seem like that. So it’s not going as planned as You talk about things happen.

Nanna: So looking at okay. Well, in a coaching journey, what happened? Well, I was awarded One of the top leadership coaching the Americas, so that was great. It was 2022. I was in Hendrick’s struggle executive coaches supporting this big great companies and have been doing a lot of thing to make a lot Impact.

Nanna: A lot of my clients got promoted. So when you look at that, then, okay, well, I probably did something. Right? Say, okay.

Nanna: Maybe maybe I’m good. So when you look that far, you know, well, We probably, you know, forties. Right? So when you look back like that, it is a great journey. So why regret?

Nanna: Just keep moving forward.

Coach Kwan: You you both gave me goosebumps. It’s just amazing. So true. And I’m sure that our listeners today can really feel relevant with our experiences.

Coach Kwan: I think this is a great way for us to you know, discuss the the next topic about challenges because whenever there are challenges there are often silver linings as well. I would like you to highlight a positive experience or unexpected opportunity that emerge for you in 2023 and how it contributed to your growth. Meenakshi, would you like to start?

Meenakshi: There’s a couple of things.

Meenakshi: One is so in 2022, when I was planning for 2023, I set some intentions, and I call them my my big rocks. You know, we all know that story where If you have a glass jar and you fill that with you have stones and small pebbles, and you have sand and shells and all that. If you fill it up with sand first, you may not have space to put your big rocks. Right. So you start with your big rocks and and figure out those are your most important ones.

Meenakshi: Those are your nonnegotiable. So, so using that analogy my four big rock intentions for 2023 were To grow my one on one coaching business, to grow my corporate coaching or group coaching side of the business to start building my speaking career, and lastly, to number four was to Find opportunities in India. And I’m so interested in not only just giving back, but also staying connected with what’s happening in the professional community there, especially from a point of view of women in tech and all of that. So Those are my four big big rock intentions for 2023. And I think that I’ve made progress in each of them.

Meenakshi: But, again, like Nanna was saying it it didn’t work out as planned, like, what my vision was for success. But now when I look back I have a potential opportunity to do some collaborative work Within a with an organization that is invested in women, in developing women in leadership roles starting twenty twenty four. You know fingers crossed everything goes well but then I had the opportunity to actually serve as a group do some group coaching work with with that organization and then I was able to I had my first in person speaking opportunity in India At an agile conference that was in April of this year in 2023. And that again came about because of some volunteer work that I’ve done back in 2020 and it was all remotely that I’ve done, you know, and I met this Wonderful person Shri Harsha, and he’s the cofounder. He’s based in the UK, but then he’s a cofounder of this group that Organizes this conference in India.

Meenakshi: And so that was my connection. Right? So those are so what I learned in this process is setting intentions is so powerful because they are more liberating than goals because you’re allowing it to shape up However they you know, you’re open to seeing how it emerges. So those are my, like, sort of two big Outcomes that I was able to see. And and, you know, I’m very proud of this opportunity for doing group coaching work with this organization in India Because I did all the work.

Meenakshi: Meaning, I pitched something to them. They that idea was shot down, But then they came back with something, hey. But this is what we would like you to do. So it is very different from what I had pitched to them. You know?

Meenakshi: But the point is, I got the opportunity to become a part of their ecosystem And be in service of women in tech and and women in leadership roles, which is something that’s so aligned to what I want to do through North Star. Right? So I the thing that I’m learning is that success especially a solopreneur see We have to grow our revenue because we are it. We are usually one person teams.

Meenakshi: So in order for us to sustain the business, the financial The business is such a big part of it. And that’s true for a lot of your listeners and your community, Kwan, as well, because when you come here as an international student you you have all these responsibilities. Right? So being open to how they translate And also being open to looking at not not just the finances, but looking at, You know? What’s the experience?

Meenakshi: How are you learning and growing as an individual? So yeah. So that was that was my More than two cents on

Coach Kwan: that. So great. So great.

Coach Kwan: You know, you are great example of, keep moving, Right? Yes. Things might not work out as we planned, but you continue planting that the seeds for success. Yes. And you did that in 2022, the result, the outcomes, the fruit of your efforts come up in 2023.

Coach Kwan: And 2024 will be an exciting year for you and wishing you lots of success with your new projects, Meenakshi. Thank you.

Meenakshi: Thank you so much

Coach Kwan: for Of course. And, Nanna, I would love to hear your Sorry. On the silver linings as well.

Nanna: So for me this year is, It’s quite stable in terms of the coaching. So I have been doing a lot of coaching, like, one on one this year. And then I realize that Why have the impact right? But I’m getting older so I probably can’t handle too much One on one. Much more.

Nanna: And then again a great experience in terms of connecting and and helping leaders navigate through uncertainty because there are a lot Of them? This year? Especially, it has been anyway. Right? So it has been non stop, and it will only Be faster.

Nanna: The chain will only be faster now that we have a lot of technology coming in. So, I think this year for me When it come to reflection, now we in December, I think it’s better for me already not to start expanding and shifting and changing but more observing and and hold The space for for me to choosing a way on where I should go next year And start to reinvent a few things that gonna be able to support My leaders support the clients to to do better because they will they will face with a lot of challenges next year for sure. And and as we already know, the economy is already, like, banks and stuff like that. Lay off daily and stuff like that. So, And and many of them affected, and and the business affected as well.

Nanna: So I think, like, for me to to be able to Stay still and be that still water. Help my clients to to go through this Speed of change. So how do I help them reinvent? How do I help them change next year? I think that there’ll be something that I also need to reflect.

Nanna: So that’s A positive outlook at least for the whole year.

Coach Kwan: That is great. Nanna, you know You know your niche. Right? And you know what works for you.

Coach Kwan: And with the economy that we are experiencing and surprisingly, like this year what I have heard is that majority of the roles that got laid off, they are executive level, which is Yes. Very different from previous years. Right? And when you are now going to be the rock for your clients, so important.

Nanna: I I have to say if I’m not still this year, I probably won’t have the container to be able to support them to go through the uncertainty.

Coach Kwan: Great. Great. Thank you so much for sharing. We have the last questions of our conversation today. I definitely don’t want this, you know, interview to end for sure.

Coach Kwan: I really enjoy so much. For international students and fellow expat solopreneurs listening in, what advice do you have for those trying to establish their support systems and overcome the unique challenges of pursuing a career or business abroad. Nanna, would you like to start?

Nanna: Sure. As you already paved away from the beginning, the support system is very important because we need a village, right, to, To help us to be successful and that village is something that you need to find in your own.

Nanna: The support system that’s gonna be able to help you. The mentors is gonna help That either way. The coach that gonna be helping you and holding your hands to whatever the next step That you plan and have a vision for. So for I I learned the hard way. Right.

Nanna: Coming here and have no network and nothing and and and stumble on different network. And speaking from experience, like, the the faster you can find yourself With the the supporting network that you feel safe, that you feel like this is gonna be these people that can help me help me grow not not help me in in the pool pulling me down. Right? Because you have different network, Different supporting system. But we’re talking about a real support to help you grow.

Nanna: So find those support group as soon as possible because that will help you sustain your sanity and your mindset. But if you don’t have it, it it is hard. So I think that would be something that I I would love to To live with if if there’s nothing else. Right? Because it’s very important.

Nanna: I can’t be where I am Without mentors, t shirt support for sure. You know, with the two abuses who has been a great support. I can’t be where I am today and honestly like it takes a

Coach Kwan: village. It takes a village. Great.

Coach Kwan: Meenakshi? Yeah.

Meenakshi: The one thing I’d like to add to what Nanna just shared is I can’t there’s a quote around this, and I can’t remember it now. But the the Meaning is, you know, hold yourself hold your values very strongly, but hold yourself Rather lightly.

Meenakshi: And what I mean by that is if be aware of what The universe is telling you what the environment is telling you and be courageous to pivot and turn as needed and I say that particularly in the context of international students because a lot of you are coming here this is aspirational to study in the US in in a university here and several of you are probably coming with a lot of pressure From your families, from your parents your partners, whatever the situate your life situation may be. And it’s also a huge financial investment for you to do what you’re doing, for most of you, at least. And that’s true for those of us that like me, who come here as accompanying spouses, and it’s you know, I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but more often than not, it’s the female spouse that ends up coming as the accompanying spouse. At least that’s what I’ve seen In my circles. So there’s a lot of pressure on everything that we do.

Meenakshi: I remember the first few years, I would, I would hesitate to spend even a dollar because I I was like I’m not bringing in money you know I’m not earning money And so I considered myself an expense, so I would not spend any money. But the point also so the so Always value who you are and and stay in touch with why you’re doing what you’re doing. And at the same time, Hold your your vision and goals a little bit lightly so that you are able to turn when needed. Make that big Pivot when needed. You know, a lot of times, we continue to do what we started doing because we are embarrassed to admit To others that we are no longer interested in it or this is not what speaks to us So whatever, you know, we may realize that we’re not doing a great job and we are we are really the kind of not bringing our whole self Do it, but then you kind of continue doing because we feel pressured from the environment.

Meenakshi: aNd you you’re probably not living your fullest by doing that. And those of us that choose to come to the US for whatever reason, we all come with a lot of privilege anyway. So Really leaning into how can you use your privilege in the service of others without, You know, falling into the pressure of of societal expectations and expectations of your family, I think that’s the key to to thriving in an environment in a foreign environment.

Coach Kwan: You are so right. You know, being here as a fur foreigner, actually, the the situation is quite different, Right?

Coach Kwan: From from people who were born and raised here, we have expectations from the family back home. Yes. We also even set expectation for ourselves. Sometimes it’s Heavier than what is supposed to be. And have the goal that it’s good to have a goal, but at the same time, knowing that it is okay to pivot as well.

Coach Kwan: Yes.

Meenakshi: Absolutely. You know, I I do wanna share a personal example here that for the last year and a half, I’ve been and I’ve shared this with you in our personal conversations is that I’ve been considering looking at full time roles or even part time roles, but Having one leg in industry because of what I the kind of work that I do, I’ve come to a point after about four years. I’ve done some Contract work here and there, but it’s not the same as being as being part of a a corporate ecosystem. As much as there are parts of it that I don’t want to experience again, but I also think that if I want to if I need to be relevant And in service of my clients who all come from that space, I need to stay relevant.

Meenakshi: And so I’ve been looking at roles, and I’m open to finding a role because I also now that I’ve been I’m outside of that ecosystem, I realize that I’ve gained new skills. And I can make better impact in a closed ecosystem if I’m part of it for a considerable Continuous amount of time. Because as a coach consultant, you are parachuted in and then booted out. Right? So you can’t really stay on to see that longitudinal impact if you will so the reason I’m saying this is I am not ashamed to say that hey I’m I have I’m a solopreneur, but I will be open to a full time role or a part time role if the right one shows up, and I’m actively seeking those as well.

Meenakshi: But I’m clear on my why. So I’m I I’m not giving up North Star and doing something. Right? So I think that’s That honesty with oneself is so important because a lot of times we forget to do that because we wanna be everything to everyone else.

Coach Kwan: Right.

Coach Kwan: So good so good and you know what as a solopreneur if you can you know make things happen All employers are so gonna be so lucky to have you. Right? It’s

Nanna: Let me piggyback ride on that. I think it It’s important to understand that is a value that you bring into the table in different capacity. Right.

Nanna: So, if to to what Meenakshi was saying is that don’t stick with just the shape and form being a solopreneur but stick with the purpose and the impact that we’re gonna be providing it might be next year all of us will be working in large corporation making much more impact of philanthropy Or having serve a local business. We don’t know. But those are the capacity That we can tap into, but as soon as we don’t stick with the form, but we know what we’re doing to be able to make an impact. That’s that’s the most the most important thing.

Meenakshi: How beautifully said.

Coach Kwan: Right? Thank you. Nanna. Such a great conclusion.

Coach Kwan: Thank you so much. And you know for me navigating the challenges of this year would have been far more daunting without Your wisdom, you two. Your encouragement and your shared experiences that so generous, you know, to me. So thank you for all those words of wisdom. It’s been a pleasure having both of you on the show.

Coach Kwan: And our listeners, if you enjoy this podcast, I would appreciate it if you can leave a review or rate our show on Spotify And Apple podcast. Have a great day everyone and I will see you next year! Think big and live your dream.


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