Learn to live with passion, purpose, and power.
You Are Not A Label
“Who am I?”
This is a question I’ve asked myself throughout my life, and I’m always amazed at how the answer continues to evolve.
For the longest time, I believed I had to have one clear answer, a tweet-able one liner.
I am an entrepreneur.
I am an athlete.
I am an investor.
Indeed, modern society tells us, we must fit our identities into clean labels...
“Focus on one niche,” they say. “It’s good for business.”
However, the result of trying to squeeze myself into a neatly labeled box left me feeling woefully inadequate...
Because the moment I labeled myself one thing, another part of me immediately yearned to be something else.
‘Why can’t I be this AND that?’ I wondered, and reluctantly shut down the dreamer in me for the “practical” choice.
As it turns out, the practical choice rarely provides the long term fulfillment that the explorers, creatives, entrepreneurs, and builders among us crave.
By nature, humans are meant to grow and expand. We each have infinite potential if we simply allow ourselves to glimpse it.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Who could I be if I allowed my labels to fall away?
Who could I be if I allowed myself to unapologetically dream?
Who could I be if I allowed myself to finally go after what I’ve always wanted?
The moment I started asking myself these questions, I realized: Who I am and what I’m capable of cannot be defined by any singular label.
I am not my LinkedIn title, my Instagram bio, my salary, or my accolades...
While those things give an indication of the outcomes of my work, they will never fully express my spirit - a spirit that is creative, loving, curious, empathetic, passionate, at times insecure and sad, (and that’s ok too!), an amalgamation of past experiences and conversations and small moments that will never be highlighted in any press announcement.
Those are the things that have shaped who I’ve become, and none of that, none of me, can be put in a box, and that is what makes it so beautiful.
So I want to remind you…
You are not a label.
You don’t belong in a box.
And anything or anyone who tries to put you in one does not belong in your life.
You have more power and light within you than you could ever imagine.
I’m so excited to see you shine. Here’s to an expansive 2021 :)
If you’d like to hear more about how I’ve shifted my mindset to live powerfully, tune into the Enoughness Podcast where I share a wonderful conversation I had with my friend David Nebinski from The Portfolio Podcast that includes a few of my important reflections from 2020.
You’ll hear about:
How to let go of the fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of judgment
The importance of leaning into discomfort in order to grow
How I tap into my intuition before engaging with people and environments
How to change the internal narrative that’s keeping you stuck
How to create space for a loving relationship
The most valuable thing you can give to anyone to change their life
🎧 Listen on Apple Podcasts / Spotify
Thank you for being you,
Lisa Carmen Wang
—> Get in touch / Work with me here
Get on the email list at herpower.substack.com
The Elusive Pursuit of Happiness in The Age of Excess
How to Be Happy in The Age of Excess
There are an increasing number of “tactics” to be happy these days. We’re told to meditate, give gratitude, travel, be present, - the fact is, we’re told so many things that we should do, that we become even more overwhelmed with our already full to-do lists. And then, we begin to feel bad, because clearly we are not living a happy life if we can’t find even two minutes to meditate each day, much less the prescribed twenty.
And we know we have to give gratitude, but it’s really hard to be grateful on days when you’re feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, annoyed at your job, which you realize is a pouty thing to feel bad about because you know you’re lucky to have a decent or well-paying job.
Traveling is awesome, you love exploring new places and cultures (but who doesn’t, really?) and the pictures prove it, you had a great time. Maybe you even posted a few pics on social media.
‘I swear it was the best time of my life’ the pictures yells. ‘I definitely didn’t spend a quarter of that time on my phone checking emails and scrolling through Instagram to make sure that people did, in fact, see and like my vacation pics.’
And what does being present even mean these days? We can physically show up, we can do the dance of putting our phones away to have a conversation, then furtively checking it when the other person goes to the bathroom - can’t be seen alone with no incoming notifications to respond to. I mean, how lame would that be? Do you even have a life? Do people even like you?
Each day, we wake up so consumed with the things we have to do, the things that we don’t have yet, the things that we think matter - that if you stopped to think about it… Do they really matter? - does that deadline, or that email, or that client really matter? I mean yea, it pays you - but how often do you feel joy, and I mean pure joy day-to-day when you open up your inbox and start mentally ticking off the people you have to respond to. What percentage of those people, if you never spoke to them ever again, would you actually miss?
Happiness is a really convoluted concept these days. How can we be happy when there are so many other things we need to be doing? When there are so many other people who need our attention?
We live in The Age of Excess.
More specifically, Excess Choices - driven by a capitalistic societal belief that more is better. More is ALWAYS better.
The next best thing is always around the corner - the next post, the next deal, the next show - “Entertain me,” we seem to be saying. “Occupy me,” “Feed me,” “Give me MORE.” The pursuit of more is stimulating, it’s exciting. It gives us that initial rush of dopamine. It also helps that other people admire us when we have more.
But at a certain point, MORE starts feeling… well, a little too much. And suddenly we want less, but by that point, we don’t know how to wean ourselves off because we’re addicted to the pursuit of more, and less is inherently worse… right?
If we cut things out, we might not like the few choices that we are left with. We might get bored. And boredom - lack of busyness - is really scary.
What does it mean if we have nothing to do?
What does it mean when our schedules are not packed back-to-back with opportunistic meetings?
What do we do when we aren’t presented with superfluous choices to occupy our time? “Should I respond to this email or should I not respond to this email?” “iPhone X or XS or XS Max?”
Making a conscious decision to give up certain choices entirely (i.e. it’s not about which Netflix show I should watch, but rather that I’ll just delete Netflix) means that you’ll actually have some space to be with yourself, your own thoughts, and eventually get to a point where you have to face the fundamental and hard choices in your
Only 5 Years Left to Live...
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” - Oscar Wilde
Like millions of others, I was hit hard by the tragic news that dominated this week’s news headlines. As I cycled through alternating waves of shock, grief, and curiosity, going down a wormhole of Kobe’s life, I was suddenly struck by an overwhelming, uneasy sense of my own impending mortality. If someone like Kobe - who had the accomplishments, the wealth, and the adoration of millions of fans - could not achieve immortality, what chance did I have?
A chill ran down my spine, “I am going to die.” I thought helplessly. ‘Just like every other human being on this earth, I am also going to die.’ This is the one fight over which I have absolutely no control - that no one can control - and in a weird way it made me feel grateful for my life, connected to every other human who ever lived, dreamed, loved, and died.
I don’t know if anyone is ever truly ready for death, but I do know that we are all hurtling towards the same destination at a rate of 60 min/hour, whether we like it or not. As they say:
“Life’s a wild ride, and none of us are getting out of here alive.”
There’s a common thought experiment, ‘If you had only one year left to live, what would you do?’ Often though, our reckless answers to this question would be unrealistic for a sober day-to-day existence that must take into consideration longer term consequences. So I adjusted it and asked myself:
If you only had five years left to live, what would you do differently?
Five years is an interesting length of time because it’s still long enough to accomplish something significant, long enough that you have to consider medium-term implications of your actions, but short enough that you tangibly feel the urgency.
I want to invite you to take a moment to consider this question for yourself, and if you feel so inclined, I’d love to hear your thoughts in this discussion thread:
My own answer to this question surprised me. It took a few days to articulate it because I had to allow my labels to fall back and differentiate between ‘Is my ego speaking or is my true spirit speaking?’ And it came out in a waterfall of thoughts that I shared with my best friend over text. While I considered editing this, I thought it’d be more powerful to share in its raw form.
A text to my best friend:
“The first things that occurred to me is what I would stop.... and I started crying when I realized this, weirdly I’m crying now as I type this...
I would stop pushing so hard, I would stop fighting against the world - like OMG I fight and push myself so hard - and for once I’d like to just give myself a break and just enjoy life… and this made think, fuck do I even enjoy life? or am I running through it, fighting some imaginary competitor for some imaginary prize? And I’m so, SO tired.
…and then I thought, Who am I trying to prove something to? Why do I always need to prove something, that I’m better, faster, stronger? First, I would let this part of me go, I think. And focus on letting love in, on savoring things like amazing bites of food, traveling to awesome places, watching incredible movies with people I loved who would want to talk about them after, and dissect the themes, and how it makes them think about their own life.
I would find time each day to read phenomenal books, especially ones that had withstood the test of time - and ideally I’d have someone to discuss it with after as well.
I would just learn, and grow and enrich myself with incredible stories... through books, movies, as well as with other fuck yes people.
I would take less pictures, maybe just have a Polaroid so that each picture has more meaning… I would take more short videos so I could relive especially great moments. (Essentially, I’d be recording moments
The Powerful Woman Pt. II: Her Purpose
The Seven Undeniable Traits of The Powerful Woman: Pt. II
The first trait is Courage.
The second trait is Purpose.
II. Her Purpose
“I don’t want to know what you do.” The Powerful Woman states, for she knows this is a trivial, artificial label. She wants to know something more.
“What do you long for? What do you ache for?” She implores.
“If time, money, and fear were no issue, how much bigger could you dream?…
How much more alive could you be if you renounced your safe cocoon of comfort for PASSION, for LOVE, for the ultimate PURPOSE of living for something greater?”
For most, the idea of asking these questions is frightening. It is much easier to dull themselves. To live pleasantly yet aimlessly. To succumb to a numbing, disquieting march of complacency and judgement… Always judgement.
Judgement, after all, is what they resort to when their own lives are purposeless.
Literally anesthetized by the fear of asking… of DEMANDING something more.
The Powerful Woman is not afraid to ask questions.
She is not afraid to demand more, from herself or from others. She is not afraid to question the reality that attempts to box her in.
In fact it is the recognition that reality is hers to redefine that leads her to a depth of understanding that so alludes others:
To redefine reality is, in and of itself, her purpose.
The Powerful Woman watches as the world passes them by, as they chase unrequited permission and validation. She realizes that purpose can only be found when all of that is forsaken.
Her Purpose is not an external drive, it is an internal fire. It is a vision of how the world COULD BE, irrespective of how the world IS.
Purpose must always be anchored in desired change, in desired growth. For when we stop growing, we decay. Ultimately, we die. This is a truth that they so often forget. But this is a truth that The Powerful Woman never forgets.
Her Purpose is driven by a deep appreciation of the nature of time, of growth, and of death.
Her Purpose is driven by urgency.
Her Purpose is driven by necessity.
“What do you long for?” She asks once more. “What do you ache for?” It is in these questions that she is challenging you to ask for more. To unearth the truth that lies buried within you, and to activate your most powerful catalyst for freedom:
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The Powerful Woman Pt. I: Her Courage
The Seven Undeniable Traits of The Powerful Woman: Pt. I
Who is The Powerful Woman? What traits makes her powerful? Why must she persist? In a world that is simultaneously craving and denying the strength of The Powerful Woman, we need her more than ever. Often, there is a mystique around Power as the word in and of itself has been appropriated and distorted by men to give women a negative, fearful perception around owning Power for herself. This is a series that expounds on The Seven Undeniable Traits of The Powerful Woman.
The first trait is Courage.
I. Her Courage
The Powerful Woman is willing to stand up for what she believes in, what she knows is right in the face of fear, injustice, and cruelty. Her courage often takes up an air of defiance, for in a world that still caters towards patriarchal standards and masculine leadership, the act of standing firm must inevitably appear as such.
Her courage takes the form of challenging the status quo, of questioning preconceived notions of morality and tradition, for isn’t it these very things that held and continue to hold her sisters back?
Morality, that which is good or bad, has bifurcated our society into black and white according to the views of men:
“He is right, and she is wrong.”
“He is strong, and she is weak.”
“She is pure, and she is a whore.”
At what point did we accept his values as truth? Why do so many of us walk through life passively accepting things as they are? Because it is easier.
It is easy to stay silent.
It is easy to live in fear.
It is easy to forsake responsibility.
It is easy to blame external forces.
It is easy to turn a blind eye to injustice.
We live in a world dictated by historically unchallenged power structures that men have created around his ideals, his norms, his beliefs to protect his status. War, Oppression, Hierarchy - this has been his game throughout history and the result is the boundless perpetuation of inequality.
Furthermore, the insidious effect of these structures are manifested in the subtle ways women are subjugated into silence and powerlessness every single day…
In her inability to say “No.”
In her lack of confidence.
In her fear of being rejected.
In her need for validation.
We care so much about pleasing him that we forget that she is the source of life. The most powerful source of all.
Therefore, it is The Powerful Woman who remembers this, who reminds herself that she has strength in spite of the messages that abound telling her she is not enough, she is weak, she is less than.
It is The Powerful Woman who has the courage to reject his truth, to question the validity of his morals. She has the will to uphold her own values and uplift the voices of her sisters, even if it means going to the edge. Even if it means walking alone.
The edge is a terrifying place to be. And that is precisely why we need courage.
Many women who have gone to the edge before have fallen - out of grace, out of favor, and historically, into her demise.
So it is with courage that The Powerful Woman must bear the sticks and stones that will inevitably be hurled her way.
So it is with courage that The Powerful Woman must march on, march on, march on, undeterred, paving the way for a future reality that is as palpable as her own two feet.
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A Tribute to Strong Women
Happy Thanksgiving to all the ambitious, independent, powerful ladies who are staying true to #HERVOICE, #HERLIFE, #HERPOWER in spite of all the shit we deal with on a consistent basis.
To all the strong women - We love you. We admire you. We love watching you kick ass and succeed.
On this day, I’m taking a moment to recognize how blessed I am to live in this moment in history, in this country, as a woman.
Some of the most basic things we take for granted were still an uphill battle for women just a few decades ago.
A brief stroll back in history reveals that women were not allowed to…
Get a credit card:
In the 1970s, it was illegal for a single woman to get a credit card from the bank. And even a married woman would need the signature of her husband to open up on account. Talk about the impossibility of achieving financial independence!
In the 1920s, many local governments issued standards for women’s bathing suits that prohibited them from showing too much leg on public beaches (too much leg?! Never) with law enforcement patrolling beaches with measuring tape. Women who insisted on wearing something other than an ankle-length potato sack were asked to change; defiant female bathers could be arrested.
Take birth control:
In the 1950s, women’s reproductive freedom and her right to decide when and whether to have children were only just beginning to be openly discussed. In 1957, the FDA approved of the birth control pill but only for "severe menstrual distress." Then, a 1965 Supreme Court ruling approved birth control but only for married woman, and #allthesingleladies were still denied the right to use oral contraceptives in 26 states. In 1972, the Supreme Court finally overturned a Massachusetts law that made distributing birth control to singles illegal. #FIGHTFORTHESINGLELADIES
Work while pregnant:
Up until 1964, maternity leave was considered permanent. Employers were under no obligation to retain workers who got pregnant, and as many as 40% of businesses took advantage of the lack of laws. Women carrying children didn’t have complete protection and access to benefits until the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed. We love you working mamas!
Get an Ivy League education:
As a Yalie, this still pisses me off. Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and the other elites claimed to chose only “the best and the brightest.” Somehow not a single woman qualified. They barred their doors to half the population, not because of inferior IQs, grades or test scores, but simply because of gender. Except for Cornell, the first Ivy didn't admit women until 1977. The reason given? The Ivies would have to lower their standards to admit women. Yes, that was the argument.
Even if a woman had gone through all the years of school and passed every test, she could still be denied the right to plead a client’s case until 1971. No wonder the laws have been such b******t. Laws for women can’t change if we don’t actually have women in the courtroom! Side note: watch the RBG Movie, On The Basis of Sex if you haven’t yet. I cried at the end, rewinded it, and cried again, her victory was that moving.
… There’s much more, but these stood out to me.
This is all to say, that while there is still a long road ahead, we are blessed! I hope you take time to not only celebrate your friends and family, but also to remember the many women who have come before us who have courageously fought for the progress in equality we have made today.
When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful - Malala Yousafzai
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