3 Business Tips I Learnt From My Kids

There’s a whole lot my kids have taught me, and it’s not just about being more patient, or not yelling or learning to put them first, by sacrificing the last bite of cheesecake (and a gazillion hours of sleep). I’ve found that if I pay enough attention, the lessons I learned are highly applicable to my professional life too.

Tip #1: Accept & Embrace The Mess 

As a working mother, I work my life around my family and try my best to do that sometimes insane juggling act that seriously, sets even the best of us up for failure. And what’s more, I have tried to keep my professional life separate from my family life and try to kinda live my life in separate blocks. This big yellow one is for work. The red one is for my husband. Blue one is for my son. Pink one for daughter #1 and purple one for daughter #2. And none of them touch.

While that works to a certain extent, it doesn’t account for the spillover effect. The Spillover Effect. Yeah, because Life Is Messy and the gods of all that is chaotic tend to like to conspire to make life more interesting.

Just.

For.

Kicks.

So instead of just getting frustrated that my day is not going according to schedule and getting upset that the kids are taking too long to [insert task here], I have decided to accept and embrace the mess instead of fighting it.

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My son loves his blue sneakers (in the photo above) and always wants to wear them. But he takes a really long time (by adult standards) to put them on, well, because he’s 5. Instead of telling him to hurry up and scolding him for his choice of footwear because he is making everyone late, and in the process upsetting him and myself and giving everyone an unpleasant start to the day, I have suggested that he start putting on his shoes 5 minutes before everyone else does.

Because it is in accepting and embracing the situation as is, that I can figure my way out with much better outcomes, with a less stressed out Mummy and a happier kid (because Mummy is not yelling in frustration).

I have found that whether at my job or any venture that I might explore, it is pointless to wish something were a certain way when it is not. Try as I might, I can’t change people, nor can I change some situations. The sooner I accept and embrace the reality, the easier it would be to make a plan and meander through it with the best results possible.

Tip #2: Lego Blocks Should Be Part of Every Job Interview 

If you want to find out the type of person you are hiring, get them to build something out of Lego blocks. The idea is not really in what they end up building, but to observe their thought processes and questions they ask.

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When my kids and I play with Lego, it’s always intriguing to me at how they express themselves with this platform. My son, the fixer, step-by-step doer and perfectionist, would look at the pictures on the Lego box or in the booklet (if there is one) to replicate what he so desires. He is to-the-point and systematic. If he doesn’t know how to fix it, he tries to troubleshoot but gives up sometimes too soon because the perfectionist in him does not like to attempt tasks he thinks he is not good at. He doesn’t like to ask for help.

Daughter #1 on the other hand, is the imaginative and creative one who colours within and outside the lines, sees what she wants to build in her mind and just starts building (because who cares about instructions?!). Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes she screams in frustration because something is not going her way or a Lego block won’t clutch the way she wants it to. But she asks for help and figures it out in the end.

Of course, what and how the interviewee builds may not be an all-conclusive measure of how this person may be a great fit or useful for a particular role in an organisation, but I think it would be a good overview.

Tip #3: Savour the Highs and Use Them To Power Through the Lows 

Life can be Tough. So can parenting, and work.

I love my kids to the moon and back, and being their Mum has brought me through Super Highs and Super Lows. When I watched my babies learn to roll over, or walk, or when they first said “Mama”, or when my two year old does her Happy Dance. It’s like sunshine on my face and warm soup in my tummy. It is heartwarming and nourishing.

Then there’s the yucky part of parenting, when I’m surviving on 2 hours of sleep because someone got sick, or the babies had to be fed in the middle of the night, or all the kids decide to start fighting and yelling when you’re trying to do something. Those are the times when parenting feels like another job that I have to take care of and it feels like absolute drudgery.

I used to think that when good things happen, I shouldn’t celebrate too much, because when bad things happen, then the fall will be so much harder. But I’ve realised that the good and bad are just part of Life, like they are part of work and business.

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The best way isn’t to not celebrate the highs, or to wish the lows away. But to celebrate these highs and remember them as much as possible, to build up a bank of confidence in my own abilities and a positive mindset so that I will be able to take on the lows with decisive action, drive and tenacity.

 

 

 

5 Things I Learned from Randi Zuckerberg

Supermamapreneur Sighting

Randi Zuckerberg is the Founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, Creator of Dot Complicated and Former Director of Market Development & Spokesperson of Facebook.

Randi was not at all how I imagined her to be when I met her.

I half expected a professional, hardened, power-talking persona, and maybe she would be a little cold and standoffish, but she was none of those things.

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She’s got to be one of my favourite Supermamapreneurs because she is so down-to-earth and warm. She’s smart and immensely funny, and she doesn’t possess that arrogance that some super successful people have.

Here’s 5 things that I’ve learnt from her:

Lesson 1: Don’t let your height get to your head, and negativity get to your heart

When Mark first started Facebook, he was just 18 years old and people were mean and called him the toddler CEO. Even though he does have a thick skin, (and I guess you would have to develop that if you’re him), sometimes it was hard to not let comments like this get to him. Someone passed some advice to Randi, which she shared with him – You’re never as bad as they say, and never as good as they say, so don’t let your height get to your head, and negativity get to your heart.

Lesson 2: Her Secret to being a Supermamapreneur — Work, Sleep, Fitness, Family, Friends – Pick 3 Only 

To juggle her life and make it work, she gives herself permission to not have to do everything all at once. Each day, just pick 3, and everyday can be different. See, this is actually the secret of being super – we don’t have to try to do everything at once, and I think we have to learn to stop pressuring ourselves to be everything to everyone too. It’s just not sustainable.

Lesson 3: It doesn’t matter if you get 4000 “Nos”. You just need 1 “YES!” 

In 2007,  she wanted to give Facebook some credibility by getting involved in the U.S. Presidential campaigns, and to show that Facebook is also a serious place for discourse. She called so many campaigns and got turned down many, many times. The only one who said “yes” from the start was the Obama campaign (and look how that turned out!).

Lesson 4: Don’t go into business with your best friend.

If you’re best friends, chances are you both are quite alike. Having differences is the only reason why she and Mark could work together so well for so long. They would work on different areas of the business and not step on each others toes. So in business, pick someone opposite of you for best results.

Lesson 5: Money just amplifies what’s already in you. 

When asked how money has changed her life, she says she still lives a very simple life, and lives the way she did before. In her experience, money doesn’t change people. It just amplifies what is already inside of you. So if you are insecure, money will make you crazy insecure. If you’re an asshole, money will make you a crazy asshole!

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Love her yet? 🙂

Millionaire Mentor: George Ross, Trump Organisation, The Apprentice Judge

How To Transition from Law To Business

So I had the pleasure of interviewing George Ross, Donald Trump’s Right Hand Man and Chief Legal Counsel of the Trump Organisation (for 42 years!).

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He was also a judge on The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice. Yeah, he’s the guy on the left.

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I can’t imagine how much experience he has, but I thought I’d take the chance to find out his thoughts on transitioning from law to business.

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To all my lawyer friends, don’t say don’t have!

To be honest, he doesn’t say anything groundbreaking, but it’s good to know you’re on the right track if you’re doing what he says you should since he’s done it before.

First steps to transitioning from law to business

Overcoming the fear or apprehension in transitioning from law to business

 

 

 

Mr. Lim Siong Guan, Former Group President of Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC)

Interview with an Industry Rockstar

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If you have ever Mr. Lim Siong Guan, you’d be staggered by his *amazing* CV. Click here for his wikipedia page. I got to interview this figurative giant of a man during one of our Intelligent Millionaire Network meetings and I have to say he didn’t disappoint.

It was great to hear insights from someone who used to work closely with the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and to see the world from his perspective, given his vast experience as the top man in verybigcorporations.

Here are 3 videos, enjoy!

Video 1: How To Manage Energy & Overcoming Biggest Challenges

 

Video 2: Quick Tips on How to 1) Establish Rapport with People 2) Quickly Gain Insights on Where an Organisation is and 3) Implement Changes

 

Video 3: Keys to Success for Business and Personal Development

Kids: Kaius & McDonald’s 

Me: OK kids, nap time! Go lie down and I’ll go get my book. 

Kaius: You mean your McDonald’s book? 

Me: (amused) How did you know it’s a McDonald’s book? 

Kaius: Because I saw the McDonald’s sign and I was reading it just now. 

Wow. My son is a lot more observant than I give him credit for and he’s growing up fast. 

How can I not fight to be a good example for him? 

Kaius with Grinding It Out. The Making of McDonald’s by American businessman Ray Kroc. He was responsible for making McDonald’s into the world’s most iconic fast-food brand. 

GIRL TALK: Penny Low, Founder, Social Innovation Park

Why CSR and Social Innovation is Everyone’s Business

So in September, I attended the CSR and the Social Innovators Forum.

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I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised when I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Penny Low, founder of Social Innovation Park, an impartial, not-for-profit organisation based in Singapore that incubates social entrepreneurs worldwide to bring positive innovations to lives and societies.

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Excerpt taken from Social Innovation Park’s book Top 50 Social Innovations Changing Our World.

Of course, the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, lent some star power mega star power to the event.

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I had never thought about Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Innovation prior to this, despite being in business for the past 5 years. Mainly because I had always had the impression of it being something that only applied to large corporates because of the extent of their influence.

But, at this forum, I learnt quite the opposite. CSR and Social Innovation is everyone’s responsibility. And to make any significant kind of change, efforts have to be made from the “ground up”. This means the responsibility is yours and mine.

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CSR and Social Innovation can be as simple as participating in Food Bank initiatives.
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Like this Food Bank Project X-pired –  Converting Food into Fashion!
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Me and Penny

Find out more about the inspiration behind Social Innovation Park and what entrepreneurs can do to contribute to this cause, watch my interview with Penny here:

MotivationalMonday: Break The Ceiling Touch The Sky

7 Lessons from Corporate Leaders from the World’s Best Companies

“In this world, there is no force equal to the strength of a woman determined to rise.” – W.E.B. Dubois

As an entrepreneur, I am committed to my continual education and I love learning, what more from the world’s best. It’s phenomenal how the organiser, House of Rose Professional, managed to gather all these corporate leaders in this Break The Ceiling Touch The Sky Summit so we could learn from them and apply these lessons to our businesses.

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This Summit was inspired by the book of the same name and was written by Women In Leadership expert, Founder of House of Rose Professional, Anthony Rose. He is committed to empowering women to help us break the ceiling and touch the sky.

Here are 7 lessons from these corporate leaders that really stuck with me:

Lesson #1: On Hiring

Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President, South East Asia and Australasia, UNILEVER Plc

Always ask a person who they are (not what they do). A lot of people know what they do but can’t explain who they are.

It is important that they know who they are, they possess humility, are confident and have high ambitions. If they do not have humility, they will just be plain arrogant.

Lesson #2: On What Businesses Will Look Like In The Future

Amit Banati, President, Asia Pacific, the Kellogg Company

  1. Micro tasking
    1. Splitting tasks down into small tasks and handing them out to freelancers who will do these jobs for a fee.
  2. Customisation of health, wellness and nutrition
    1. There is so much information and so much confusion out there now.
    2. In the future, it will be a lot more common to have highly personalised nutrition, health and wellness products or services.
  3. Advertising and Marketing
    1. Customers will want to engage very differently with brands, on their own terms.

Lesson #3: On how to attract Millenials to work for you

Lynne Anne Davis, President, FleishmanHillard Asia Pacific

  • Millennials tend to be very high performers
  • Overachievers and learn a lot in a very short period of time
  • Companies need to work with it and feed their learning curve, and prepare for turnover every 3 years
  • Millennials want a job that is worthwhile and feel valued.

Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President, South East Asia and Australasia, UNILEVER Plc

  • First, you need to be a winning organisation. No one wants to be a losing team.
  • Secondly, there must be a sense of purpose: 84% of millennials have a mission and they want to change the world. If you don’t demonstrate a sense of purpose, then it will be difficult to attract them.
  • Thirdly, we must have very high standards and send the message to them that if they are able to join the organisation, they will be part of a winning team.
  • Once they join, they are put into a very intense learning programme. Every 6 months they will need to be learning new things to ensure that they learn at an exponential rate.

Lesson #4: On How To Break The Ceiling And Touch The Sky 

Ann Mukherjee, Global Chief Marketing Officer, SC Johnson 

Ann’s sharing struck a chord within me. And I’m really grateful for her deep and raw honesty because not many people are this brave. She shared about her experiences in an abusive marriage, her eventual remarriage to her current husband, her struggles to conceive, and when she finally had her twin daughters, finding out they had cancer. To her, these are her stories and they have shaped her to who she is today. She encourages everyone to embrace their stories and use them to their advantage. This is what she says:

“If you want to be successful, you have to break your own glass ceiling and touch your own sky. It takes courage to look within yourself and truly find ways to love yourself.

Be honest about what skills you do have. Then you’ll be able to uncover the soft skills that will be reflected in your company. 

You must embrace your stories, because through those stories, become those soft skills. Use it to touch your sky, but also help the organisations that you want to join, touch the sky too.” 

Lesson #5: On How To Be Authentic 

Catherine Hall, GM Marine, Shell Chemicals 

Catherine is a woman in a man’s world and she shared that she was completely fine with that because of her own childhood experiences. She was always different from her schoolmates and so learned to embrace being different at a young age.

She advises everyone

  • to become comfortable with being different and
  • and then thrive on that to make a difference. It is important to find out what really motivates you and go from there.

It is important to find out what really motivates you and go from there.

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Catherine Hall and I.

Find out more about her in her Straits Times feature.

Lesson #6: On Executing Plans

Grace Ho, Chief Commercial Officer, Singapore Post Limited 

Grace has had an extremely high flying career in tech, having worked for HP and Microsoft, amongst other companies.

Her secret to creating workable systems is crystallised into the following Acronym (Yes, so Singaporean, right?):

Communicate: Set the expectations with the bosses

Operationalise: Set the processes and systems for predictability.

Plan: Review every 90 days and forward plan to instil some sense of sanity.

Find out more about her ACE Attitude which has brought her to where she is in her Straits Time feature.

Lesson #7: On Making A Positive, Lasting Impression

Anthony Rose, Founder, House of Rose Professional and Bestselling author of Daddy’s Logic and Break The Ceiling Touch The Sky

Anthony took the time to hand write personalised messages on the name tags of all the delegates who attended.

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The event was really well run and put together and I certainly learnt a lot (and ate a lot). But what struck me most deeply besides these other 6 lessons above was Anthony’s thoughtfulness and humility in this gesture.

I truly believe he really has a heart for women in leadership and I’m really glad that he’s doing what he’s doing. Thank you Anthony!

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This blue tag was attached to a rose which HP was giving out to all the ladies at the Summit. As you can tell, I love it! 

 

GIRL TALK: Andrea DeCruz

Celebrity, TV Presenter, Actress, Businesswoman and Co-Founder of Galboss Asia

Meeting Andrea DeCruz is like meeting celebrity royalty.

gba1There, I said it.

It’s true though. I mean, I’ve seen her on TV since I was a teenager. And I do recall she was one of the most popular actresses at the time.

So of course I was quite excited to meet her in person – she is so easy to talk to! She’s also always smiling, welcoming questions and very kindly obliged when I asked her for an interview at Galboss Asia.

Having moved on from her acting pursuits, Andrea now owns CINQ Studio at Scotts Square and is a Co-Founder of Galboss Asia.

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In this interview, I ask her about:

  1. Her inspiration behind Galboss Asia; and
  2. What were her biggest business challenges and what she did to overcome them.

It really is a privilege to meet people like Andrea and learn from her. Besides her acting and business career, I think it’s amazing how she pulled through from her liver transplant operation all those years ago.* I suppose to me, it also made her more real.

By the way, a friend of mine will be undergoing the same operation to give her dad part of her liver for his liver transplant, and Andrea and her husband, Pierre, very kindly spent some time with them, sharing their experience.  I thought that was really great of them!

*For my friends who are not in the know, Andrea needed a liver transplant about 13 years ago and her then-fiancé now-husband, gave her part of his liver. It was the most romantic story ever to rock the headlines in Singapore for sure. 

Supermamapreneur Sighting: Tjin Lee, Award Winning Mercury Group of Companies

Serial Entrepreneur, Wife & Mother.

So I met Tjin at Crib Society‘s Meet & Greet. I joined CRIB because I heard about it at Galboss Asia when Tjin was sharing on a panel. (I tell ya, Galboss Asia is like a gift that keeps on giving!)

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Us at Trehaus, a Co-Working space with child minding facilities in the heart of town. Yeah, one of Tjin’s businesses too.

She has 9 businesses, founded Audi Fashion Festival, Singapore Fashion Week and CRIB (amongst other things), and is married with 2 sons. She founded her first business in 2000 (Mercury Group of companies) and built it up to what it is today. Tjin is also the winner of the inaugural Singapore Tatler Young Achiever Leadership Award 2010.

I love that I’m constantly meeting all these great women, and particularly those that are supermamapreneurs in their own right. I have so much to learn!

Being an entrepreneur can be downright brutal at times. Or most times. And it’s really important to be surrounded by the best if I want to be the best. It’s not just about having the mindset of successful entrepreneurs, but also the support that is crucial to raising businesses. (And babies).

Women like Tjin show me that it is possible to have a vision, work your ass off for it and come out the other side, alive and thriving.

I’m really glad that there are more and more organisations and events that are about women empowering and supporting other women.

I’m excited to get to know all these very cool women better. And I’m even more excited by what is to come.

 

Supermamapreneur Sighting: Sabrina Tan, Skin Inc Global

Family, Business and Galboss Asia

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Sabrina Tan at Galboss Asia. She shared her experience with growing her local custom skin care company, Skin Inc, into a global brand. It is now in over 100 cities around the world through skin care and make up juggernaut, Sephora.

WOW.

I had heard about her success before meeting her through various business associates. And since I’m in the skin care industry too, I was very curious at how she did it.

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Kudos, by the way to the Galboss Asia people who scheduled her sharing right after lunch. That was a good way to keep people awake! I’m sure there was no one sleeping since it was such an interesting and inspiring sharing.

I was particularly fascinated with her story because when she was building her business, she was also raising her family. Her youngest kid was only 1 when she started. I can most certainly relate to that. It is somewhat comforting also to hear that she had many challenges too before this huge success.

Having met her and if I had to describe her in 2 words, I would use the colloquail term “chilli padi“.

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For my non-Singaporean readers, a chilli padi is a chili pepper otherwise known as Bird’s Eye chilli. It is small, but extremely potent and spicy. One small bite of this chilli will send an overwhelming explosion of flavour into your mouth, and it can be so spicy that it’ll make your ears hurt, I kid you not!

In that same thread, don’t be fooled by her petite frame. She is a force to be reckoned with.

These are the questions I asked her when I got the chance to chat with her:

  1. How did you juggle your business and your family?
  2. What were your biggest challenges in business and how did you overcome then?
  3. What was your inspiration for Galboss Asia?

Great insights, no?

I also asked her this one last question off-camera,”The skin care industry is so competitive. Weren’t you afraid?” She just looked at me with steely determination and shook her head as she said,”No. Don’t even think about that.”