Business 04 April 2018
Failing is one constant in life that even the most successful of people face. In fact, I have spent the majority of my 20s failing. But there is a simple three step process to overcome it.
Around the end of 2010, I received an eviction notice. This was after I had stopped paying my electricity bill for six months straight. I was microwaving my burritos from 7-11 in the hallway of the apartment complex because my fridge didn’t work and there were no lights at home. At that time, I had called my mother. I told her that I was going to spend the rest of my life under a bridge and wished her a wonderful life. She called my grandmother and next thing you know, my grandmother had picked me up and told me that I needed to live with her. I didn’t really have any other choice, except for hunting for a new place to live under a bridge somewhere in Los Angeles, so I obliged.
While living with my grandmother, I felt hopeless. I just lost my home. Everything I tried working on failed. My former girlfriend didn’t want anything to do with me. Most my friends turned their backs on me. And I really didn’t have a plan on how to get ahead. So I spent my time playing video games and watching TV.
This didn’t last long though, because my grandmother was tired of me staying at home and doing nothing. She started yelling at me and told me that I needed to find a job. If you have ever had an Asian grandmother yell at you, it is by far one of the scariest things in the world. I felt obligated to find any job I could so she would stop yelling. Then there it was, my first interview for a position at a startup doing marketing from a listing on Craigslist.
I went to work there for over six months, and within the timeframe I had worked there, I earned a whopping $2,300. Not $2,300 a month, but $2,300. That’s less than $400 a month, well below minimum wage and the federal poverty line. But the good news is that I was able to keep my grandmother off my back.
I came to a realization that I couldn’t be a burden to my grandmother, let alone live this way anymore, so I made a decision to move back to Los Angeles. Luckily, my friend gave me the opportunity to live on his sofa for $100 a month, while my other friend lent me a few hundred dollars to survive for a bit. When I arrived, it took me a little over a month to find a job, thanks to my friend Deinis Matos who was staffing for an entry level position at American Honda. But after being there for two years, I hadn’t seen a single raise.
By this time, I was able to live on my own while taking public transportation for an hour and a half to work and an hour and a half, sometimes two hours to get home. But taxes had increased $80 a month and I could no longer afford to eat the $1.60 quesadilla lunch I would buy from my work cafeteria.
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, let alone hungry after not being able to afford to eat lunch any longer. So I decided to put my all into three things: finding a new job, going back to school and writing.
Finding a new job went nowhere. Going back to school was a long game. But my writing took off because I kept at it every single day. It was read 2 million times within six months and 10 million times 1.5 years in. Now, I’m recognized as a leading expert in my field by various publications and media outlets.
When examining my entire life, I realized that there was a reason that I constantly failed. And that same reason I constantly failed was the same reason that others fail as well. It was because instead of letting our fears guide us, we either freeze up or run away from our fears. At first, I had difficulty figuring out what exactly it was that I was afraid of.
As I have grown older, more mature and in tune with who I am, I have come to find that fear isn’t something that we should run from. Instead, fear is something we should embrace and let guide us. When you are scared, it means that you are onto something great, something that would connect with others and propel you ahead.
After a long period of self-reflection, I discovered that my biggest fear in life was being hurt by others. Since I was scared of being hurt, I refused to be open, vulnerable, or willing to help others.
So how do you go out there and let your fears guide you? You follow this simple three-step process that I explain in my TEDx talk at UC Irvine:[thb_image image="19555" img_size="full"]
1. Recognize it.
In order to let your fears guide you, you first have to identify what it is you are scared of. Sometimes, this can be difficult because you have to go layers deep to discover what it is that you are truly afraid of. For myself, I am scared of a lot of things that involve talking with new people. Your fear can be derived from many things, whether it be speaking up in a meeting, reaching out to a prospective mentor, or the thought of how others would judge you if you decide to share something that you have experienced in your own life. You need to recognize exactly what it is that you are afraid of.
2. Face it.
Facing your fear is easier said than done. When you begin to face your fears, it may feel as if you are looking the devil straight in their eyes. Most people, what they end up doing is either freezing up or running away. If you’re anything like me, you will want to run away. But you can’t.
3. DSA it.
You can’t freeze up and you can’t run away. The reason for that is because you have to DSA it. To DSA it means you have to do something about it. For me, how I was able to DSA it was by writing my story of failure and broken dreams with the world. For you, it can be writing. It can be taking action and reaching out to a mentor. It could be asking your employer for a raise or even starting your own business. Whatever it is, you just have to DSA it.
If you want to stop failing and begin to become successful, I implore you to write down these three steps and to refer back to them each time you feel fear. Or even better, do something about what you fear right now. Because the only way to achieve success is to move past freezing up or running from your fears and to begin taking action.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."