Personal Growth Taught Selene to Cope with Internal Struggles, While Quieting the Inner Voices, and Stopping Introversion From Stealing Her Dreams.
Last week I interviewed, Selene Chin from Dog Digital in Singapore. Dog Digital is a digital agency, with a head office in Glasgow. Over her 16 year-career she has worked in advertising houses such and Ogilvy One Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi and Tequila. Selene really is a Wonder Woman, often described as interesting, and clever. Not only does she run the Asia operations of Dog Digital, but she is a mom of a two. Her husband is a stay-at-home dad. She shares how she finds her happiness through dreaming and how she overcame her personal struggles. Let her personal growth be an inspiration to you, as it was for me.
Although most people would define success, by the achievements of role models such as Hillary Clinton, and Sheryl Sandberg, or local ones such Ho Ching, and Chua Sock Koong, Selene feels that these dynamic ladies can be quite daunting.
We can all be like that – if we want to, of course -, but Selene says that “success is being happy every day”, and she admits that that’s not always easy. The pace of life is very quick, with lots going on all the time. It becomes difficult to know what to keep and what to let go.
Personal Growth in the Early Days: Biggest Struggles
As an introvert who preferred her own company, Selene has always struggled. She used to think her dream job was to stay behind a PC and research, but then she picked a career in advertising because she grew up wanting to work on campaigns that would influence hearts and minds of people.
This demanded significant personal growth, because Selene had very little empathy for narrow-minded people, yet found herself in a space full of extreme opposites. She had to learn to handle different people in her role and she actually enjoys it. She says “Maybe it’s a confidence issue. It’s really a struggle – my biggest problem. I can’t say how I overcame it. It was a result of many small things done repeatedly over a long period of time. Always put on a smile. Always make a point to talk to 3 new people about your work every day. It is this repeated (and dogged) habit that helped me get out of my shell and made me a better person.”
“Confidence– my biggest problem, I overcame it, through the result of many small things done repeatedly”
Personal Growth and Humility: Quietening the Inner Voices
Selene’s voice inside – like many of our own – is very loud. She always thought she was perfect at what she did, but early in her career she was passed over for promotion. Shocked, she couldn’t believe that her definition of perfection is subjective. And what she thought was perfect was only her opinion, for it felt like a slap on the face – a sign of failure. She didn’t handle it well, so that’s one in a series of events that led her to realize that there may have been something wrong with her… The failure made her wake up.
Personal Growth: Making Use of The Tools We’re Given
Selene pays tribute to her husband for grounding her; “He never thought I was perfect!”, she says. She realizes that he helps her to stay grounded by pointing out her mistakes.
About their marriage, she says “What you are attracted to, and what you love and end up marrying, is often two different things. I thought he was the cutest Singaporean guy and I wanted to go out with him. He was unconventional, knowledgeable, although he’s not a graduate. He is streetwise and grounded. I started appreciating him only after we got married, 11 years ago. I stayed with him for different reasons than why I married him. I love him because he carries my walking stick. He empowers me, makes me stronger. He allows me to dream bigger. It’s subconscious. I’m blessed, he’s amazing.”
“My husband empowers me, makes me stronger. Dream bigger. It’s subconscious. I’m blessed”
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We spoke about people changing careers and Selene pointed out that everyone has (to have) a reason for doing things. We all seek fulfillment and when that dries up, we no longer have a reason to do it. When Selene noticed that her husband was not fulfilled in his career, they decided that he would stay home and look after the kids. Selene is a career woman – her career provides her fulfillment, while the children define her husband and they are happy with that.
Selene likes to push herself to achieve her dream and she joined Dog Digital to set up the Asia Pacific Operations, Dog Digital gave her the canvas to roll out a new agency model that she had been toying around in her head for 5 years. She decided to go into advertising because this was what she grew up wanting to do, working on campaigns that influence and moves hearts and minds of people.
She always wanted to start something on her own, and taking the challenge to make something successful in this competitive world excited her.
Only YOU Can Define Your Own Success
That’s why she joined Dog Digital to set up the Asia Pacific Operations visioning it was her way to dream into a reality and it’s been good. She always wanted to start something on her own, and taking the challenge to make something successful in this competitive world excited her.
Selene’s husband has been a key in her personal growth and learning to understand fulfillment. She realized that a large part of being fulfilled is doing something you love, and being good at it. You should cultivate your dreams, and aspirations, and be persistent.
Give Yourself Permission!
Selene receives mixed (well-meaning) reactions when she tells people that her husband is a stay-at-home dad. People have launched into lectures saying that it’s not right, and how a woman’s God-given role is at home and man’s role is power and that it’s wrong and men should not behave like that. Selene says “But just because he’s not working doesn’t mean he doesn’t have power in the house.” The family operates well together and they don’t feel that they need anyone’s approval.
You Cant Do It All
Business and family are Selene’s two biggest concerns; “I think about my business 24/7, although I’m salaried and not the owner. When we started I told the team to put their dreams in the clouds and their feet on the ground, which is how I operate in life. I dream, but I need to remain grounded.”
Her husband and children are most important to her. She says “My only job with my kids, is to show them how big your goal is and how big your heart is. For me, when you see the dreams that you want, you need the confidence to know that you can be whatever you want to be.”
Selene feels that you need to make time for work-life balance. Once time is gone you can’t get it back, so it’s pretty much wasted. “Only do what’s worthwhile. Don’t waste time, because that’s immaterial – LIFE is what matters. We only have one. It’s not easy, but that’s how you get balance. Be with whatever you are doing – at work, or at home. That’s what many women struggle with. They struggle with trying to do it all and you don’t have it all – you always sacrifice. But you need to be okay with it, that you will have many roles and you must come to peace with it.”
If she could go back in time and give her young-self some professional advice, she would say: “Rather don’t be listening to yourself so much.”
Her own voice was so loud. She’d tell herself to just “Be who you are. Stop trying to prove yourself in your head and behaviour. Be yourself, you’re amazing as you are. Don’t worry about defending everything you do. ”
“Be who you are. Stop trying to prove yourself. Be yourself, You’re amazing!”
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Marriage brought about the shift for Selene. She learned that anyone you meet has something to teach you. You have to learn those things.
Personal Growth and Selene’s Future: Following my heart
I asked Selene what she sees happening in her future: “I want to make it the best years of my life by finally doing something I feel in my heart. I really like children and being with them, teaching them – I don’t mean academically. There’s more to life than that. There’s not enough dreams for our country or the world. Let’s talk about life skills. How you manage your dreams. These things are not taught in schools any more. Parents don’t have time and schools don’t care. Their minds should be opened up to these things. Parenting magazines talk about quality time, but it’s about being present. It’s putting in time – you need to give LIFE, not time.”
She concludes the interview explaining that unless you are happy with YOU, no matter how much money or achievements you have, it won’t make you happy.
So, if you are like me, you’re probably wondering: “How do we go about finding happiness?” Selene says it boils down to being at peace every day, but not like Zen monks do. It’s about:
1. First invest in yourself. Listen to your voice, your dreams. Only then are you able to do more, give more, help more.
2. Don’t be afraid to be you. Even if it means that you have to do something different with your life.
3.Find strength in everyday things, everyday people. There’s inspiration everywhere, don’t wait out for a wow moment or some dynamic personality to come on to be inspired. open your hearts and minds and you will find inspiration everywhere.
Her advice for people starting their journey is “Be present in the moment, because then you will learn to be open to the blessings in the moment. Reflect on those blessings again, else you just don’t know what these lessons mean to you. We all need a lot of guidance in that area. If you really want it, you will make it come true. It will be hard, but it will be worth it.”
“Be present. Reflect blessings. Be Open to lessons. It will be hard, but it will be worth it.”
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Are you becoming the leaders the world needs you to be? The time is now. You need to start before the tension breaks. It’s up to you.