In The Rising Podcast

Episode 88 [Interview] Sheena Yap Chan's Mission to Build Confidence of Asian Women

August 06, 2021 Bettina M. Brown
In The Rising Podcast
Episode 88 [Interview] Sheena Yap Chan's Mission to Build Confidence of Asian Women
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode I had the opportunity to interview Yap Chan, an Asian woman, who is helping Asian break out of their shells and live their lives with confidence.

Sheena is the author of two books, and has her own podcast called The Tao of Self Confidence, in which she highlights other Asian women, their achievements, stories and point of views.

Sheena has been featured and applauded for her work... and no wonder. Her passion for this mission is evident in her speaking, and I know that you will enjoy this podcast!

You can learn more about Sheena at her website, Instagram, Linkd In


If you enjoy this podcast, please leave a 5 star review, as this helps this podcast reach those that could benefit from it =)

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Speaker 1:

Welcome welcome to end the rising podcast. My name is Bettina, and this is the platform I've chosen to talk about living a life that's in alignment with your hopes, your dreams and your goals. And sometimes that means stepping outside of your comfort zone and voicing your opinion for what matters, right? Walking away from things that bring you shame and do nothing for you, nothing with negativity, any of that. And so I am in an interview season right now. I'm really honored to interview so many wonderful guests. And my guest today is Sheena. You have Chan and she is an Asian woman really putting out literature, her voice, her podcast , being a guest on other podcasts, really rising awareness of the potential and the wonderful , um , capabilities of Asian women all around north America. And so I'm excited for you to hear her. She is really a front runner for runner and , um, yeah, let's get into it. Well, welcome Sheena , um, to my podcast today. I'm so excited to have you, you are an absolute role model and leader with so many things. So I'm really happy that you're here. You're a keynote speaker, coach, a podcaster consultant author. I mean, you do so much, but you always have the goal of helping Asian women create their place in the world. This is such a great goal for you. Tell me a little bit about the backstory. What brought you to this point?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, first of all, thanks for having me on the podcast. Super grateful to be here today. And it really stems from my upbringing growing up in Canada. You know , I never saw any Asian female role models to look up to. And so I was always ashamed of being Asian. You know, I wanted to be blonde hair, blue eyed girl named Heather because that's what I thought being beautiful was. And so that is why everything started with my podcast called the tough self-confidence. I really wanted to create a platform where I could showcase a stronger representation of Asian women and also have a support system as well, because when I was dealing with my own confidence, I just couldn't find any support systems that really catered to Asian women. And so a part of me thought maybe something is wrong with me because am I the only one feeling this way? But really a lot of people are feeling it and it's just, nobody talks about it. And so we feel trapped and this is why I wanted to create that and want to share stories of women who've been through similar situations and have been able to come out of it. And sometimes they just, we just need that one person to show us what's possible. I mean, today, you know, the Philippines had their first ever gold medal winner. So, you know, anything is truly possible. And it was also a woman who won our first gold medal. So we're super excited about that. Um, they said it took almost a hundred years to get to where we are today. So, you know, this just goes to show that if you have something or you want something you're going to go out there and do it regardless, it doesn't matter if it takes a year or a hundred years, we're going to make it happen. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

Yes. I listened to your story cause I watched some of your YouTube read your blog, et cetera. And you were talking about this lack of support system, you know, since you started your podcast 2014 or 2015, 2015. Yeah . Do you feel that in that six year range that there's been more of a support system kind of present or yeah. You see it evolving

Speaker 2:

It's it's slowly growing. I mean, when I first started podcasting, there was hardly any Asian people podcasting, first of all, let alone Asian women. And now there's more and more podcasts popping out to just, you know, people just being able to show up as their true selves, being comfortable to talk about tough topics and even, you know, with mental health being such a taboo in our , in our culture , um, there's more and more people creating resources and saying that it's okay to talk about mental health. It's okay if you're feeling the way you're feeling, because we all go through it, especially in this crazy world that we live in right now called the pandemic, all our mental health , uh, you know, has heightened, right. We've become a little bit more paranoid and a little bit , um, got kind of crazy, right. Because we're all stuck at home. So I mean, there's nothing wrong with that, right? I mean, this is a new environment. Of course, we're going to feel different things. Of course, we're not going to be the same because everything is so crazy and never, you know, this is something that we never expected to come . Right. Uh, even when I, when everything started to shut down, I really thought it was the end of the world. So it felt like it really.

Speaker 1:

And so with that, you know, you said you didn't have much of a support system. What, what resources did you find though to provide you the support to venture out in this brand new path to be the forerunner of such a path?

Speaker 2:

Um, I think it's just having, you know, really good people with like, who will tell me who will push me to just go out there and do it regardless if I fail or not. I think that was very important because if not, I wouldn't be here today talking about it. So having friends who will tell you the truth and not what you like to hear, right. Uh , even when I started podcasting, I mean, I invested in this mastermind with four-pole with a bunch of other seasoned podcasters. And when I start came up with a name, it actually wasn't called the towel . Self-confidence in fact, I was going to name it the stripper and have the tagline to like strip your limiting beliefs away. And so I had, you know , graphic artists create the graphic and it was like a silhouette of a stripper with a whip. And when I presented that to the mastermind, they were like, you know, you're going to give them the wrong idea. They told me the truth versus telling me what I want to hear, because then that would have been a hot mess.

Speaker 1:

Right. And then, so you're not my friend, unless you tell me the truth. And that's something that we have to build up our own strength to hear that truth.

Speaker 2:

Right? Yeah. It wasn't fun hearing the truth. I was like, what are they talking about?

Speaker 1:

So I talked, I read your blog about the fear of making mistakes and so on . I am not Asian. I am actually German and American. And that's why I could really relate to a lot of what you were talking about. Because in German, I grew up German. I have two old passports. You do not make mistakes. You always get to the top of the class. Um , they call themselves the country of thinkers and doers and writers. Like you, you have to live to this cultural esteem. Um, and so you said, and you failed kindergarten because you didn't color within the lines, but don't you feel there is this need to color within the lines of life. How can you change that or address that? How do you converse with people about

Speaker 2:

That? I mean , back then I told them, you know, oh, I think like a couple of years back, or maybe five years back, I realized that me coloring outside the lines, I was just never meant to color within the lines. I was always meant to do something outside of what I was told to do. Uh , just an eight , like an Asian culture rate . Your , your life is basically set for you. You know, you go to school, get a job, get married and just either be a housewife or you work for the family business and that's it, you know, that's your life. And so a lot of us feel like if we go outside of that, you know, we're shunned or we're, we're, we're, we're called shameful because we're doing something that's out of the ordinary. And so , um, before I was just thought it was a constant failure because I mean, I failed kindergarten. Right. Who fails kindergarten? I did . But for the longest time, I just thought anything I did was just a total failure, not realizing like that was just a sign that I was just never meant to do what I was told to do, you know , not, I was not meant to do this traditional route, even back then, when I used to work a job, I would sit in my cubicle and they'd be like, I can't see myself working here until I'm retired or until I'm 60, like this isn't how life is supposed to be. And I'm not saying that your job is bad. I mean, there's people who love their job and that's great, but there's also a lot of people who make their job right. And are afraid to like step into the unknown. So for me , um , after going through like self-development courses, I realized , I realize that me coloring outside the lines was just that I was meant to do something more as meant to forge my own path and do things, you know, outside the norm, do things outside that path. And it's okay because each and every one of us has a different path and there's no standard. There's no way of knowing what to do because half the time, we're just trying to figure it out along the way. And that's okay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . I like when you say you were taking these self-development courses, you were that you could still grow and you were fostering that in yourself. And so that also shows that sometimes we don't have, not that you didn't have that support, but not everyone comes with a support system, but if you come with yourself, you can take control over that perspective. And what I liked here is that you were talking about mistakes or just kind of like trial and error in that blog. And I almost hate to say this, but like failing forward is actually a growing up. It's moving up. Um, it takes focus and it takes action, which is what you've done with this podcast. But that was just the beginning. Say a little bit more about everything that you've been doing.

Speaker 2:

Um, everything's the same, right? When you start something new, it's uncomfortable, you don't know what to do. You're scared. You're afraid to take that first step. Uh, you have to push through your fears. You have to go through rejection to get to where you are today. Um, that's all just part of the process. And I think if we keep telling people, that's just part of the process, they're more willing to go out there and do their own thing because sometimes we see people on social media and it's just like all these, you know, filtered picture, perfect content thinking like my maid , you know , a hundred grand in 30 days. Yes. That's great. You know, not saying, not knocking it, but how long did it really take you to make the 30 to make the a hundred grand in 30 days? You know, what failures did you have to go through to get to where you are today? Of course, you know, that doesn't happen to everyone. Right. But most of the time, you know, there's always a backstory from it, right. There was years of struggle. There was years of failure to get to where they are today. So , um, you know, I think we just need to be a little bit more authentic when it comes to entrepreneurship because it's , sometimes it's just not fun, right? Yes. You get to work you're on your own hours, but sometimes you might have to work 24 hours in a day, right? Yes. You get that time freedom. But sometimes you might be working on a holiday or doing something else. And so you have to realize sometimes are like their sacrifices you have to make too , when it comes to entrepreneurship to get to where you are today, it might be a lot harder than having a job sometimes, but I always say it's worth the ride. Yeah. Yeah,

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And when you talked about rejection in the early part of your answer, I also read your article in medium. Um, and you said that Colonel Sanders was rejected over a thousand times before KFC ended up being what it is today. I said not to be afraid of rejection. Do you feel that as an Asian woman, that is a little bit like more part of your culture , um , to not be afraid of rejection? Or do you feel that you're just now trying to be as spokesperson of this, don't feel rejected. Don't be afraid of rejection of not following the,

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's more , it's more just trying my best to show people like, listen, I get rejected too. It's not fun. There's days where I feel defeated. Of course, especially when you get like 20 nos in a row who doesn't feel defeated. Right. Um , but I also know that when every is like Colonel Sanders or even the author of Harry Potter, you know, she got rejected by like 50 publishers before someone said yes to Harry Potter and look where Harry Potter is today. Right. It's like a media of its own. Right. I mean, theme parks, everything. Um, I think if we just tell, like, show these stories of like people who just kept doing it kept moving forward, regardless of how much rejection they went through, how much failures they went through. Um, you know, they can see that like, just because he got rejected one time, it doesn't mean it's the end, you know, sometimes no just means not right now. Uh , no , it can be a blessing in disguise. And so if we see rejection in that way, sometimes it makes a lot more sense, especially when you look back and you see that and you're like, yeah, I'm glad they said no at that time. And , and you know, sometimes the more rejection you get, the more you get used to it and just be like, okay, well they said, no, I can move on again. And that takes time. Right. Especially when you've never been rejected. Right. Um , or like in business, especially someone said no to you ever , um, it's hard to take it in. Sometimes you get emotional and that's okay. Right. Because this is all something new, but it takes time. It takes practice for you to just keep going out there. Every step you take forward is a step towards your confidence and courage to keep doing it. I mean, when I first got rejected, yeah. I wasn't, I didn't take it well either. I would eat my feelings to be honest. So , um, but it gets better. And it's not saying that I'm , I'm invincible from rejection. Like I mentioned, like sometimes I'll get 20 rejections in a row and I want to just not do anything. I just kinda like shut down and like eat my feelings and hide from the world. But then I realized like, you know, this is just part of the process. Like I have to remind myself and then get myself back up again and do it all over again. Then when someone says, yes, it's like, okay, like I'm doing something. Right, right. Like if you're not, if you're not getting rejected, then you're not taking action. Right. I mean, that's what it is. Like, it's all just part of the process. We've all gone through it. And, and, and it's a part of life. I don't know what else to say. Like , uh , I mean, if this is just like me being saying, like, you just gotta go through it, you gotta push through it to get to where you want to go.

Speaker 1:

Just a part of life. And you talked about confidence and you, your podcast title is the town of self-confidence. And what, what, you know, I get to see you. This is a podcast. It will be an audio. I get to have this conversation with you. You, you appear like a self-confident woman. What do you feel? Um, what things have really helped you boost your confidence as you've navigated these waters?

Speaker 2:

One thing that really helped me was asking for help. So, you know, in our culture, asking for help is not a good, it's not a thing. You know, it's considered as a sign of weakness or we're asking for a handout, but I think as women as well, we need to learn to connect and, and help each other out because the more we can help each other out, the more we can lift each other up, the more we can have women CEOs, women in leadership roles, and really just solve the problems that as women, what we go through, especially during the pandemic, women have been negatively affected more than men. I mean, they mentioned how, since the pandemic women have globally, globally lost an income of $800 billion. So for me, asking for help was the biggest, like a confidence booster for me, because there's someone who's cheering me on. Whether it's a friend, a coach, a mentor, there's someone out there who's just giving you that little push to move forward, to take that first step. And sometimes you just need that, right? Sometimes you just, you just need someone to like cheer you on and kind of kind , kinda give you that little tap on the shoulder to like, Hey, do it. It's okay. It's not as bad as you think.

Speaker 1:

And I like that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It's actually a sign of strength because it is taking action and working in conjunction, we can do more, right. That's why we have communities and not just little isolated huts. So I like how you put that. And then you told your background story of how you were born in the Philippines, moved to Canada back and forth. And I have this question just because I have this view. What do you, when you're , when you think about being an Asian woman and being in Canada, it's almost like you can see yourself with two different phases , right? You're in two different cultures. What do you feel about being in north America that would be helpful for Asian women to learn and know and navigate differently than maybe being in an Asia?

Speaker 2:

I think it's learning to just speak up more probably and learning like it's okay to share your opinions. I mean, in Asia, women are treated differently. Of course, men are favored over women in , in , in Asia. And we don't really get to say some of the things we want to say. And if we do, sometimes people misinterpret it as being rude. Right. Uh , when you're , you're really just sharing your opinion about a certain topic. Uh, so I think that's one thing, just learning to go out there and go for the things that you want. Take action in your dreams, be okay with speaking up, learn to use your voice because you have , you're here for a reason, right? You're here on earth for a reason. It's not just to, you know, dwindle your life away. Right. You can make a difference each and every one of us can make a difference. Of course, it's not easy, it's it? It can, it , there's going to be challenges, but it's going to be worth it. I agree . What

Speaker 1:

Would you say today has been one of your greatest challenges within the last year?

Speaker 2:

I think the pandemic really just learning to get myself back on my feet. Like I mentioned, I just, I really thought the world was gonna end. And like, I just gave up on life . I was like Twilight zone. And I was like, oh my God, what is going on? And I just like, kind of went down in this rabbit hole of like the game , you know what, I'm just not gonna do anything. I'm just gonna like, watch K all day, eat junk food. Like not even care because it's not like we could go anywhere. It's not like the world is like, you know, the world that we used to see. And so , um, just being able to come out of that was probably the challenge, right . Because sometimes we don't know we're in this rent and it takes someone else to tell us what's going on. What's wrong. Why aren't you saying anything? And so , um, I'm just grateful. I had friends and family who kind of knocked some sense into me and just helped put myself back on my feet again.

Speaker 1:

Wonderful. So you're also an author. Why don't you describe a little bit about what , what you've been offering?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I'm into books that I coauthor . One is called Asian women who boss up, which is a highlighting stories of 18 Asian women, about their stories of how they're able to forge your own path or work from obstacles and thrive. And this is really something that was really close to my heart because, you know, I just don't see books that highlight Asian women let alone , um, the P the audience won't be able to see it, but I'm going to show , uh , patina like this is the book. Um , being able to have 16 Asian women on a cover of a book is very powerful, really create that representation we want. And, you know, just being able to create this book was a success on its own because there's no books out there like it that I've heard of. And , uh , another one is called women of color who boss up because as women of color, it's still, we still don't have as much representation as we like. And I always say, if you create that representation, then just create it right. Start with yourself. Even if you feel like you have no influence, like just go out there and do it. You never know who's listening. Yeah. I

Speaker 1:

Think sometimes we may , um, undervalue or under see , or not see enough, the possibility and the impact that your decision can make, you know, and as you were describing, you were going to give up on podcasting for a while there too. I was like, I don't know, but as time goes on, you start to see the impact and it really feeds your soul back into why you did it in the first place. So, and having those books and co-authoring , that takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of work , um , and dedication, and to make something where there is another girl who may or may not , um , come from the Philippines, but she's now in a bookstore. And she gets to see her own face. She gets to see herself represented. And that is huge for her at a younger age.

Speaker 2:

Right. Yeah. And , and you just don't know what kind of impact you've just given that person. They could be the next president of the United States or the next world leader or speaking for the UN, you just don't know anything is possible because they finally see someone that looks like them who was able to create their own path. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

That feels okay. Coloring outside the lines as well. Yes. My title is called in the rising. Like where do you see, what are your goals? Where do you see yourself rising up to in the next five, 10 years?

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, when people ask me this question, I get so nervous because like, I don't have a five-year plan. Like I kinda just go with the flow, like when something pops up and it makes sense. And it's like, yeah, okay. Let's just go ahead and do it like with this book , um, me and another friend just said, let's make a book about Asian women. I'm like, okay, sure. Let's just go for it. And, you know, like less than a year later, we have it. Right. But this really came out of a conversation. There was no five-year plan to make this book. There was like two minute conversation. We just went for it. So of course, for me, it's always, you know , finding ways to get , uh , Asian women , more visibility , uh, you know, especially with, what's been going on in , in north America with the racism against each art community. It's very horrific, especially when you hear our elders being attacked, right. And 94 year old Asian woman being stabbed. And I mean, it's heartbreaking is that could be my grandmother. So being able to just keep uplifting women and helping create a stronger representation, because we're also part of the problem, like right. Our culture, we're not told to, like I mentioned to talk about our feelings, talk about our opinions. And of course, you know, anything that happens to us that's horrific or traumatic. We just keep it in, which is really not good because now our silence is literally killing us. So being able to showcase women who are able to speak up and say, this is not right, you know, the more we keep showing that the more people will stand up and , and, you know, racism, not just for our Asian community, but for everyone else. And , uh , also dismantling the stereotypes we go through. Right. I mean, most people think that all Asian women are quiet, submissive and obedient, or, you know, we're just sex objects. And, you know, we're more than that, right? Not saying that people work in the sex industry or lesser people. I mean, if that's what they want to do, that's great. Who am I to judge them. Right. But you know, you , you can't judge someone based on what they do. It's not right. Especially what happened in March with , uh , shooting mass shooting in Atlanta. Um, you know, the, the women, the people who, who died, the women, Asian women, there they're being blamed because there were sex workers, which isn't right. Because some of those women may have came, come to America and thought they were living the American dream, but were forced into that trade. We don't know. Right. We don't know what the story is. So that's why we can't just say it they're the problem. The problem is the guy who decided to have a mass shooting, that's what the problem is . Right. I mean, if he really had a sex addiction, he would have shot up a strip club. Right. Not saying he that's right. Either, but I'm just saying that would make more sense if he had that addiction. Um, so that could be a whole nother story, but yeah. Well ,

Speaker 1:

And I'm glad you pointed that out because , uh , you know, as this has been a last year of a lot where racism is now talked about, but you know, I'm biracial. So I'm also white and black and I look Hispanic and I live in New Mexico. So I'm confused for being Hispanic and they get very upset when I don't speak Spanish. Um, and again, we judged by what we look like, but to, to, to , um, having experienced racism from, from both, I'm going to be very honest, being a light skinned person. I am that racism has never been gone. And it certainly hasn't been gone for Asian. I need for him from Asian descent period. And so I think bringing up this conversation is important because we like to put things in the closet because we don't see about it or talk about it, that it's gone. It is really alive and healthy in this, in this part of the world, you know? So , um, I think it is important to talk about and evaluate our own mindset. Are they something that we've had an opportunity to learn about or is it easier just to go on the bandwagon instead of think,

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah. I

Speaker 1:

Am glad that you brought that up. And overall, I mean, you're, you're also a speaker and a consultant. What, what are you working on your , what is your consulting through? And for

Speaker 2:

Really , um, just , uh, you know, just really helping women just build their confidence, helping them, you know , find different ways that it works for them also kind of , um , pushing them kind of be like their accountability partner . So the coach coaching consulting is kind of like that because some , some people just need someone to push them, right. Someone to say, Hey, just go out there and do it. Like, even if it fails, just put it out there. Right. Because you feel a lot better when you put something out, regardless of the outcome. Right. Instead of thinking, what if , um, and even just, you know, helping them with their mind shift my mindset shift, right. Because a lot of things stems from how we see ourselves, how we perceive ourselves. That's why women have a huge confidence gap over men. Right. Uh, say me and a man goes for a promotion or something. Right. Um, I would over-prepare of course. Right. But there's still something that holds me, holds me back because I just don't feel like I'm enough versus a man. He may be 20% ready. He'll go for it. Regardless if he gets it or not. Like they don't care what the outcome is, as long as they went for it. They're okay. That's my guys. Right. They go pick up 20 girls because they'll eventually someone will say yes. Right. So they're okay if they get rejected 20 times or by 20 women, because eventually there's one woman who would say yes. Um, and sometimes we need to just learn to have that mentality too , as women. I know it's a lot harder because we go through a lot more by gender biases , uh, than men, of course. But if we don't take action, we'll go through the same thing over and over again. So sometimes we just also got to just say, Hey, you know , um, yeah, I can do it and then figure it out along the way, because that's what men do they just say, yeah, I can do it. And then, you know, they figure it out along the way. And I know sometimes when we go do things or go after the things we want where we're , there's so many labels that women go through, but you know, what, if someone tells me I'm too aggressive or I'm too much then fine I'm too. And too much, as long as, you know, we can create this change eventually we're just that those words are going to be gone. We'll be seen as four confident and courageous.

Speaker 1:

I like that. I have really enjoyed this conversation with you, Shana , thank you so much for your time. And I'm going to put all of your information down in the description and I really applaud all the work that you're doing and that two minute conversation and kind of just like, Hey, I'll see how it goes, but you know, no matter how it goes, it's going up and forward for you and for people. So thank you again.

Speaker 2:

No, thank you so much for having me. It's been a great time, just chatting with you and being able to share all these things that you know, most people don't talk about. So grateful for this opportunity. There

Speaker 1:

Were so many takeaways from my time with Sheena, and I really liked how she's building a support system for Asian women. It really does make a difference that you see your own reflection in those around you and not just always physically, but you know, emotionally and spiritually, but sometimes physically is also important and nice to see. And so I've, I've learned so much, I'm going to post a lot of this down in the discussion below. And if this is something that you found valuable, please leave a five-star review. It does so much for the podcast and puts this in the hands and the ears of those that would really benefit from it. And until next time let's keep building one another up.