When I was growing up, I dreamed of being the CEO of a major corporation. The child of Chinese immigrant parents, I was taught that a steady job and paycheck were the ticket to the American Dream -- and I bought in.
I wanted it all -- the power, the corner office, the big paycheck, and a closet full of Manolos. So I did the normal climb: I attended a prestigious university (Princeton) and majored in something safe (engineering) that would guarantee me a job out of college.
By the time I was 25, I was the big kahuna of a team managing millions of dollars in business each year. From the outside, I was really “making it” -- and I had the six-figure salary, high-rise condo, and proud parents to prove it.
But on the inside, I wasn’t happy. I was sick of the endless meetings, missed family time, and challenges that fell way below my potential. Why was I working my tail off for someone else’s business instead of my own?
Because I was living my parents’ dream -- not mine.
And while I wanted to make my parents proud, I realized I needed to do it my way. I wanted more out of my career -- and my life -- and I knew there had to be something better than working at a 9-5 I wasn’t passionate about.
So I went all in and started my own business teaching people the digital advertising skills I’d learned from previous jobs.
But here’s the thing: I didn’t march into my boss’s office and dramatically announce that I was quitting. Instead, I stayed in my job and worked on my business on the side until I was confident it could be a viable source of income.
And guess what?