Teaming up with many other heart-centered changemakers, our Relating Authentic World (RAW) community aims to heal the pandemic of loneliness, one connection at a time.
As an Authenticity Coach, I am passionate about igniting my clients’ awakening journey, so they have the courage and clarity to pursue a life of passion and freedom. This is why I have created the Awakening Dreams Podcast, as part of the RAW movement. Through sharing these honest conversations with various women who are consciously realizing their dreams and aligning to their soul purposes, I hope to inspire my audience in taking their next steps forward too.
In this episode, I interviewed Low Yi Juan, who’s a passionate social entrepreneur in Singapore. Unfortunately, the podcast interview was not recorded, so I’m sharing key insights from our wonderful conversation as a blog post instead.
More about Low Yi Juan
Yi Juan is a social entrepreneur in Singapore, who has recently been appointed as the Executive Director of Architects of Life (AOL), since 1 Jan 2021.
Architects of Life is a social enterprise that specializes in developing the human potential of youths-at-risk and ex-offenders through outreach, developmental, and intervention programmes. AOL’s vision is to help transform them from stigmatized Stereotypes to societal Archetypes.
A quiet and strong female leader
In each of my interviews, I start with the most difficult question — “How would you describe yourself?” This first question quickly orientates my podcast guests to an introspective mode — RAW style.
Yi Juan described herself as a creator and carer. She is mindful to create positive vibes, starting from herself which in turn, inspires the people around her.
Yi Juan shared that she was quiet and shy as a young girl, preferring to hide and not be seen by others. One of her superheroes was her grandma — she was a strong and capable woman who worked her magic in the kitchen! The way her grandma was deeply compassionate and handled all problems with ease inspired her.
She realized that in her quiet way, she is still able to care for others by making small differences, first in her own life, then in helping others.
Making a significant difference through small and consistent actions
I deeply admire Yi Juan’s passion for dedicating her time and energy to helping transform the lives of youths-at-risk and ex-offenders through AOL.
I was also very curious about what led her on this uncommon path.
Yi Juan shared that she feels deep fulfillment in mentoring others, seeing their vast human potential, and witnessing the transformation in their lives. It took a few trial and error for her to figure out specifically what she likes and dislikes. This is how she became clear that being part of the AOL team is her passion. Once she figured out the ‘why’, she was able to endure figuring out the ‘how’ to any obstacle that she might meet along the way.
Being part of AOL helps her to truly make a positive difference in others’ lives through small, consistent actions made every day.
It’s also critical for her to release the mindset of being a savior, because thinking that way can lead her to get distracted by disappointments and heartbreaks when things don’t work out the way she hoped to. To make a difference in someone’s life is not about that one big heroic move. She doesn’t want to be seen as a superwoman who can achieve anything too!
Instead, Yi Juan sees herself as a facilitator to growth, and as a champion for authenticity. These are all important values regardless of the mentees’ outcomes.
Seek understanding and support, not approval
I often hear advice from successful entrepreneurs to ignore the naysayers. However, it is very important to have a supportive network to keep going.
So, what if you are ready to start a business and ditch your conventional job, but you have an unsupportive spouse or parents? My favorite part of our conversation was about communicating our aspirations and dreams to our close family members.
For Yi Juan, it was about needing to seek understanding and support from her spouse. She doesn’t want to live her life with regrets and so when she communicated her dream of being a social entrepreneur to her spouse, it was not about seeking approval. She was already grounded and crystal clear in her dream, and she was asking for his understanding and support.
I feel that this is such a crucial matter to consider when you’re feeling ready to take real action on your dreams. Yi Juan’s approach reminded me of my pilot episode’s interview with Rachel on her big decision to move her family from Singapore to Bali — where she also sought understanding, not approval. Most of us need to consider how to communicate our new directions in life with our partners, our parents, or our grown children, because we value our relationships with them. It is a responsible and respectful thing to do because as you change, they have to make adjustments too, and that process could be unnerving for them!
Sometimes, some kind of negotiation needs to happen so we can continue to navigate and perhaps redistribute our current responsibilities for the short-term, or long-term. Before you consider your loved ones’ possible reactions, it’s vital to be even clearer about your vision, and your boundaries — what you are willing to negotiate, and what are your strict no-nos.
Honor who you are
Yi Juan shares that one of her biggest insights in life is to honor who we are. There is no need to keep comparing ourselves with others, or change who we are to fit the “mould” of what an entrepreneur or a leader should be like in order to make a difference. Every one of us is already competent in our unique way.
She reminds us to keep looking for the answers we seek within ourselves.
Overall, I am in awe of Yi Juan’s gentle approach yet passionate purpose towards pursuing her dreams. I was reminded to let go of any expectations and attachment to results, and take small and consistent actions true to my values every day.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these insights revealed in this podcast interview with Yi Juan!
Please do check out the website of Architects of Life, and support this social enterprise’s meaningful vision if this resonates with you too.
Stay tuned for quick summaries of the other Awakening Dreams Podcast episodes, where we share more awakening journeys from other inspiring women.
Stay curious, be alive.