I decided long ago that I was never going to be one of those Chinese Tiger Mothers--the ones I knew from my childhood who browbeat their children into being doctors, scientists, and engineers, forced to play the violin or piano and applying to Ivy League schools one after another until the Holy Grail of a Ph.D. or MD was achieved. I was not going to be that mother, nor would I put my child on that path.
When my daughter was in high school, there were some challenging conversations: work ethic, preparedness, commitment, and opportunity. I was working SO very hard to give my daughter the perfect life. She wasn't expected to do any of the things I did. There were no piano lessons unless she wanted them and no Saturday Chinese school. She could choose any sport she wanted (soccer, skiing, swimming, climbing, running, mountain biking, hiking, to name a few) and art, art, art. We didn't care about straight A's, SAT scores, or AP classes. But in trying to deliver the perfect childhood, I created the exact thing I was trying to avoid — anxiety, expectations, and fear of disappointment. It was less about the opportunities I lay before her and more about ME trying to be the perfect mom and she caving under pressure.
I became the exact thing I was trying to avoid, just in a different milieu.
Then I learned that my artistic, outdoor-loving, self-described weirdo was suffering from anxiety and depression. How was that possible? I had done everything possible not to be that mom. And after 20+ years of managing my own anxiety, how did I miss all the signs? On top of that, I was already a professional coach--I should have known better.
Parent coaching for my husband and me changed everything for our family.
The first step was heightening our awareness and noticing how we show up versus the energy we wanted to create for our family. Honoring and validating each family member's perspective opened our eyes to the agency we gave (and didn't give) to our daughter. We weren't bad parents for our child. We were good parents who became better parents because we were able to pivot our frame of mind. The temperature in the house came way down. My daughter graduated from high school with solid grades. I am confident that she is ready for what lies ahead as she takes more ownership of her journey.
I'm now a recovering Tiger Mother and a work in progress. I am also a certified Personal Development & Leadership Coach & Facilitator. Many of my clients identify as Asian or Pacific Islander or women of color. Almost all my clients come from high-performance or high-pressure environments within their families, work, or communities. Learning to balance the energy that drives the achievement mindset at work with meeting the people they lead exactly where they are necessitates a dose of humility. The reality is, it's even more true for families. While we may have day jobs, our parenting job is 24/7, even long after the children have left the nest. And learning to put our egos aside and release our hold on their journey is the root of helping our kids thrive.
As a coach, I leverage my lived experience as a daughter of immigrants and the mother of an adopted daughter born in China in a multi-race family to provide a unique lens to parenting complex kids. Many of my clients are third-culture kids who balance their deep ethnic or ancestral identity with the context of their Western upbringing. We work to bridge that gap and integrate all sides of their identity to give voice to who they uniquely are.
My underlying energy is spent creating spaces of belonging and elevating leaders who people want to follow. I love being part of something that could change everyday life for many people. I have always been driven by what could be different and what could be better for anyone.
- International Coach Federation, Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
- Co-active Training Institute, Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC)
- Sanity School, Certified Coach
- Positive Intelligence, Coach (certification underway)
- Founder, Finding Each Other: Coaches of Color: A community for BIPOC certified coaches
- Coaching Faculty, LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics)
- Executive Coach, Diversity Programs, and Talking Talent: A program for high potential corporate leaders
- Yale School of Management, MBA, Organizational Behavior/Competitive Strategy
- University of Pennsylvania, BA, Economics