A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher of Inkandescent Women magazine and Marguerita Cheng, CFP® Pro, host, Margaritas with Marguerita — We are thrilled to share with you Episode 100 of the popular finance podcast and video show, Margaritas with Marguerita. This series has been an amazing opportunity to share the stories and voices of so many financial experts, entrepreneurs, and authors with our audience. We know you will love the star of this important episode, Number 100.
Today’s Topic: What is the Tao of Self-Confidence — and how can we all get it?
Rita asks Sheena:
- What is the Tao of Self-Confidence?
- What made you decide to write this book?
- Tell us about your background.
- Have you always been self-confident?
- What are three key things our audience can take away today to help them feel more confident?
About our guest: Sheena Yap Chan is a keynote speaker, podcaster, consultant, and author on building self-confidence. She currently inspires women through her award-winning podcast called The Tao of Self-Confidence where she interviews Asian women about their inner journey to self-confidence. Her mission is to help Asian Women boost their confidence to live their authentic selves, help Asian Women create a voice in the world, and create a stronger representation for Asian women. Sheena has been featured on MindValley, slice.ca, Marketing in Asia, Manila Times and more. She is also the TOP 100 Filipinos to follow on LinkedIn for inspiration and learning in 2020. She is also the co-author of the International bestselling book Asian Women Who Boss Up. You can learn more about Sheena and connect with her on her website, iTunes, Spotify , and Stitcher. Learn more at sheenayapchan.com.
About the book: In 2021, women represented 54.3% of the US workforce but only held 35% of senior leadership positions. Of that percentage, only 2.7% of Asian women were in management roles. While there have been great leaps for women in the workplace in the last decade, women of color still fall behind. The Tao of Self-Confidence book sets a foundation to help Asian Women start being seen as leaders in work and life rather than by our stereotypes. To move forward with true confidence, we must learn the lessons our challenges have taught us and heal our trauma. With an honest and vulnerable approach, Yap Chan discusses and explores the specific challenges our community faces, historically and during the 2020 pandemic, intergenerational and historical trauma, false stories we tell ourselves, and how we can rise above stereotypes. We’ll tap into our inner joy, celebrate our authentic selves, and awaken the leader within. Click here to order your copy of the book!
Scroll down to read the Introduction: The State of Asian Women.
Introduction to Sheena Yap Chan’s The Tao Of Self-Confidence: A guide for Asian women to tap into their confidence, joy, and shine as leaders in today’s world
Growing up in Toronto, Canada in the 1990’s, it was always difficult for me to see anyone in the media that looked like me. No one had similar facial features, and I found it hard to accept who I was and my own culture. I wished for blond hair and blue eyes. I wanted to change my name from Sheena to Heather to sound more “Western.” Can you imagine being nine years old and already facing all kinds of self-esteem issues because people who looked like me weren’t represented in what I saw and heard everyday?
Over the years, I’ve worked on fully accepting myself and my heritage. In the process, I promised myself that I would always try to create a stronger representation for Asian women in order to dismantle the negative stereotypes that we still face today.
I started a podcast in 2015 called The Tao of Self-confidence where I interviewed over 700 Asian women on the topic of confidence. Although my podcast has reached over 1.2 million downloads and has reached the top 0.5% most popular podcasts in the world, the visibility factor for Asian women was still non-existent almost everywhere else.
In 2021, I co-created a book called Asian Women Who BossUp which highlights the stories of 18 Asian women who have been able to forge their own path, overcome obstacles, and thrive. It was amazing to see 16 Asian women on the front cover of the book – something I’ve never seen before.
Asian Women Who BossUp started giving us the visibility we deserve, and Asian women were seen in a different light. For years, Asian women have been “bossing up” in their own industries, but no publication has highlighted their collective breakthroughs and insight until Now.
I always believe that if you want the representation you crave, it must start with you. If you’re not out there trying to create the representation you want to see, you’re unknowingly continuing the vicious cycle. A report from Catalyst.org on the representation of women of color in management and leadership roles in the US in 2021 was particularly disappointing, although not surprising:
- Black Women represented 4.4%
- Hispanic Women represented 4.3%
- Asian Women represented 2.7%
When I saw the stats, I started to wonder why Asian women had the lowest representation in leadership roles. Something in me wanted to dig deep and figure out why this was happening.
When I was presented with this opportunity to write this book, I felt a little hesitant. I had bouts of impostor syndrome, doubting I was even the right person to write it. Who was I to write a book based on the topic of leadership? But I realized that if I gave in to my doubts and fears, and didn’t write this book, I would’ve been the biggest hypocrite in the world. So I went for it. I found a way to overcome my emotional blocks, and made it happen.
I feel grateful and honored to have this chance to write a book that not only helps Asian women, but all women in leadership. As women, we still face so many challenges in this arena.
Many leadership books I see out there are basic how-to books or rigid manuals. Most of them don’t talk about the reasons why women, particularly Asian women, don’t advance in leadership. So I decided to create a book that really dove into the cultural and historical issues that affect a leadership career. That means exploring the things we have gone through, including what came before us, our heritage, the moment we were born to now and how that has affected us in our daily life.
We don’t realize that our personal history and experiences can linger in us and subconsciously affect our actions and decisions in our daily lives. These subconscious, forgotten life experiences may be part of the reason why you are struggling in your current situation.
This is why I decided to write a book like no other, a book I wished had been around when I was starting out: a book on leadership that touches on historical and cultural mindset as well as personal roadblocks or trauma you may be going through. If you don’t work on your mindset first or figure out what kind of baggage you’re carrying from the past, it’s going to be an uphill battle to become the effective leader you were meant to be.
This book will tackle the things that you don’t normally talk about. The taboos in your culture and how you were brought up. I will bring up things that your Asian parents will tell you not to talk about. I will take you on a journey that you have never been before.
This book will tackle topics such as the model minority myth and how that has affected the Asian community for decades, the many issues that Asian women still face today, intergenerational trauma, how to unlock other forms of trauma, the journey to healing from your traumas, self-love and why it matters, the power of self-confidence and the future of Asian women leadership.
And while this book may seem like it’s catered to a specific audience, these specific stories complete a narrative tapestry that helps all of us better understand each other. You can learn from this because there will be parts of my story that you can relate to. I’m sure you have different taboos in your culture or negative stereotypes that makes you feel like less than a leader. I’m sure you’ve had to navigate issues with racism or sexism in your life simply by being a woman.
It’s important to share your specific stories. I’ve been rejected way too many times in my life because my story was “too specific” or that it catered to a “specific” audience. But your specific story can help people from all walks of life in many ways. You can either relate to a story, learn something new or see things from a different perspective.
If you hear the same stories over and over, how would you learn and create positive changes? You can’t keep doing the same things and expect a different result (which, by the way, is the very definition of insanity).
Being “specific” is a good thing and it’s about time to learn about leadership from a different perspective, especially one that’s often seen as invisible or not taken seriously in leadership roles: that perspective is from me, a woman of Asian descent.
Stereotypes come up just from how I look: the media has often implied people who look like me were the cause of Covid-19 or that my only goal is to be a good housewife. Because of my Asian features, I face immediate judgement, and this judgement from stereotypes has fueled a rise of violence against Asian women like me, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. The community has been in tears for the Atlanta shooting in 2021 that took the lives of six innocent Asian women, the death of Christina Yuna Lee who was murdered in her own apartment, and many others.
Having a leadership book from an Asian woman’s perspective is more important than ever. Being on the receiving end of generations of misdirected hate and rage, voices like mine need to come out of the background and be heard. In the words of Lizzo: “It’s about damn time!”