As a second generation Taiwanese Canadian born and raised in Toronto, I was expected to follow a stereotype - keep your head down, work hard, and make money to take care of your family. And even though I worked twice as hard, I was unable to keep a full-time job and unable to keep my head down. I always felt like I was trying to fit into a mold that was never made for me.
I graduated from the University of Toronto in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts, specializing in English and Philosophy, feeling like the greatest disappointment in my family as everyone else graduated for engineering or finance. And in my journey as a freelance writer I lived and worked in New York and London, always trying to prove that the path I chose was the right one.
I was the first entrepreneur in my family, and rather than being celebrated for this venture, I was constantly being persuaded to give up and get a real job. With all the information glamourizing Entrepreneurship as the ultimate form of freedom, I wished there were more conversations about burnout, failure and mental health that affect over 80% of entrepreneurs today.
During the pandemic I pivoted my business and reached my highest level of success, financially, and could not have felt unhappier. With this awareness I took the greatest risk - I walked away from money, fame, and success. I booked a one-way ticket to Mexico and in this journey I sacrificed everything I knew before to gain an understanding of who I really am.
Today, I define success not from the external achievements from what I do, but in knowing who I am. I feel grateful to be able to live and work both in Canada and Mexico, collaborating with partners that are aligned with my vision, and teaching Entrepreneurship at George Brown College to help aspiring entrepreneurs build a business that doesn't come at a compromise to their mental health.
I hope that my off-the-beaten-path in Entrepreneurship empowers others to walk away from the pressures of following a career path they may not align with and trust that in truly knowing themselves, they will reach success.