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Celebrating Learning

“Stories that Inspire – Celebrating Learning”. As a lover of #lifelonglearning, am absolutely delighted to be part of this publication that celebrates learning!

The publication features stories of ex-St Joseph’s Convent gals. Grateful to my English teacher Mrs Dolly Chan who was then the Vice-Principal, for her encouragement to stretch beyond my comfort zone. It ignited my love for reading and writing, as well as public speaking.

Educators certainly play a critical role in shaping the future of their students!

Building A Growth Mindset

An awesome afternoon facilitating conversations and learnings at the Building a Growth Mindset workshop, a project supported by the @LearnSG Seedfund. The more we share and tap on collective wisdom, the more joyous and rich is the learning!




Positive Attitude, Positive Day



People often ask me if I’m always so cheery and positive. My reply: I’m human and of course some moments are less fluffy. But with strategies and tools, I’m able to better manage my emotions and mindset.

For example, our response to an external stimuli (eg others’ behaviour or actions, an event or life’s circumstances) will determine the eventual (and not that moment) outcomes.

bruiseOn Thursday the 13th, the day started off on an awesome note with a comfy ride in a maxi cab to my client at the wholesale market. While walking to the office, I tripped and fell on the uneven floor. Felt a tad embarrassed in front of witnesses and also had bruised knee.

Decided I needed to manage my response as I’ve a long day ahead. I picked myself up, laughed and thanked the kind uncle who enquired if I’m alright, choose to feel grateful that it was only a bruised knee and that my dress didn’t burst at the seams.  Cleaned myself up at the client’s office and went about the rest of the day in positive spirits.

Ended that evening on an awesome note at Ladybossasia panel discussion.

If I’ve had gone “aiyoh, so unlucky”, my mood would have been affected. And I might have chosen to skip the networking evening and miss out on the delightful company.

Because I laughed at the incident and choose to feel grateful, this ensured that I had an awesome rest of day.

The same applies for stimuli that creates greater impact. Choosing to focus on what could be changed or done will help us to achieve a positive eventual outcome.


Dislike networking? Here are 3 tips how to start enjoying them!



When I started Dream Catalyst, the most given piece of advice was “go and network”. So I went for various business networking events.  In my head, I knew that it was great advice but I didn’t really enjoy them.

Networking at that time wasn’t fun nor was it meaningful for me. It did not match my values in relation to work (purposeful, engaging and creating value) and so I stopped going.

This year, I decided to give it a go again at the firm encouragement of friends. But this time round, it is a totally different story. I am absolutely enjoying my networking experience and have been encouraging others to do likewise.

For those who dislike networking, here are 3 tips on how to start enjoying networking:

Tip 1: Follow Your Heart

I enjoy fun and so I decided to look for networking events that were possibly fun too. Likewise, you have to decide on what type of networking events work best for you. The following are some events I have attended in the past months which were enjoyable.

I stumbled onto LadyBoss through facebook and decided to sign up for the panel discussion. I like the relaxed feel of the event and enjoyed meeting fellow women entrepreneurs and leaders.  The conversations were light and engaging. There were also opportunities to chat about work. Perfect mix.

“Marketing to Women”, the panel discussion at the last Ladyboss event

Jackie Yeo, the co-founder of Ladyboss, shares “In the past, many networking events which I have been to have been mostly dominated by men and it was difficult to find other women entrepreneurs to talk to. So the idea for LadyBoss events was to have events where women entrepreneurs know that most of the other attendees will be women entrepreneurs as well! It will be a place where we can find comfort in knowing we are similar in so many ways, build new relationships, collaborate and more. LadyBoss Asia though is part of a much larger vision where LadyBoss would signify a movement, one that empowers and inspires women through entrepreneurship. The LadyBoss movement would comprise of media, community, events and more throughout Asia.”

When you follow your heart and attend events that you resonate with, often times you will connect with other like-minded individuals. Such was the case with Christine whom I met at my first Ladyboss event. We hit it off so well that we met up separately for lunch.

With Christine at LadybossAsia
With Christine Liao from Meggnify

Through her, I learnt about Flow and absolutely love the positive vibes. Chatted with Jonathan from Meggnify who shared that he started Flow to be a support group for Entrepreneurs and like minded individuals to gather and provide support for each other through the journey. “The Journey of Entrepreneurship is often tough and lonely and others often do not find it easy to understand why we are doing it. Having benefited from a support group like Flow ourselves many years back, we at Meggnify therefore decided to pay it forward and try to benefit the many other startups out there as well.”

shriJoining a professional body is another way to network. I recently joined Singapore Human Resources Institute as an associate member and attended its #SocialHR. Love the positive vibes and the sharing by the invited speakers.

Another way that I follow my heart to networking is signing up for seminars and talks. Am enthusiastic about ongoing learning and so, I decided to marry the both. So far, it has worked out positively. New learnings and new business opportunities have emerged.



Tip 2: Go With A Friend

Some members of my WhatsApp Group had so much fun attending a networking event that we decided to continue the conversations over supper!

During my journey to rediscover and enjoy networking, I realised that some of my friends shared similar concerns about networking. So I decided to start a WhatsApp group amongst my friends so that (1) we could share information on upcoming networking events, (2) to attend the events together for those who are keen and (3) to share resources.

One of my friends Karen Pang who offers personal concierge to help you regain the luxury of time, has found the WhatsApp group to be useful.  “Building a business, let alone a successful business takes a lot of time and drive. It’s so important to have a network of friends and associates to draw energy from and keep me going. By surrounding myself with people who share a similar drive and ambition, we are more likely to move forward as a group. Being in the WhatsApp group gives me the opportunity to instantaneously share information and even cross-sell our service and product, it also allows me to get a ‘booster shot’ of assurance and positivity whenever and wherever I needed one.”

PS: do remember to mingle and not just stick to your friend(s) the whole night. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of signing up for that event.

Tip 3: Create Value

Like attract like.create-value

If you intend the networking session to be meaningful, then be someone who creates value for others.

When you meet someone at an event, engage them in conversations. And be generous with information or sharing that is useful for them. The key words being useful to them, not just focus on pitching your business or products which you think is useful. 🙂

Creating value for others makes the networking experience a human- and heart-centred experience.

I found that creating value for others makes the networking experience a human- and heart-centred experience. It allows us to flow back into fundamentals of being human – to connect, engage and help each other.


Learning Can Be Fun!

photo7CXBBL8IA common feedback given by participants at my workshops, motivational talks or coaching sessions is that they never expected the sessions to be this fun!

I started training, teaching and mentoring since I was 18 years old. And right from my very first session, I strove to make it enjoyable regardless of how ‘dry’ the topic might be or who the audience might be. Students, educators, parents, professionals, bankers, home makers… it does not make a difference.

This probably stem from the fact that as a student, I often fell asleep during lessons. Auditory learning is my least preferred choice and coupled with the hot stuffy classroom (we did not have air conditioned rooms back then) plus non interactive mode of teaching, falling asleep was the most natural result. And what naturally transpired next is a chalk smacking into my face. Yup, the age of non whyteboards.

So when I became a ‘teacher’/ trainer, I decided that I will:

happy teams

  • make my sessions enjoyable and relevant for the participants
  • incorporate useful learnings and activities; no silly exercises or activities
  • respect the participants’ time so no fillers activities just to waste time
  • use a blend of methods so that all learning preferences is included





One of the great things about starting my own practice is that I can decide the direction of Dream Catalyst and the projects that I am involved with. So I can be choosy about who I work with. As such, it gives me immense delight to work with organisations both non profit and businesses that serve to make a difference in the lives of others. These organisations genuinely incorporate training programme as part of its mission to better the lives of their members or employees. Increased productivity and efficiency is the bonus of happy team members.

Yup, learning can be fun! Why not? 🙂

Release Envy and Change Your Life

Called to Love, 13 September 2013Its your road, and yours alone.
others may walk it with you,
but no one can walk it for you. ~ Rumi

Years ago, I used to envy the lives of others. Lives that I perceive as being happier than mine. The thing about envy is that it rarely spurs you to respond or react positively. Instead, it salts the wounds and the bleeding of bitterness starts once more.
Envy also prevents us from being 100% happy for someone’s good news. Instead, the question “why can’t it happen to me?” pops in to over heat the self-pity soup, leaving us burnt.Then wise mentors appeared to remind and teach me to embrace and celebrate my own life. To embrace the sufferings, the pains, the anguish that appears on my own road. Just like I would embrace and enjoy the goodness, the joys, the learnings that is mine.  And to practice being 100% happy for others’ goodness and joys.

I found the following steps useful:
  • Practice gratitude for all blessings both big and small
  • Practice deep breathing and allow the emotion of envy to surface and dissipate into the air when it pops up
  • Practice being happy for others and be present to their joy
  • Practice laughing more and crying less
  • Practice patience as life begins to attract goodness into your life

Release envy and positively change your life.

This is a teaching worth absorbing.
This is a practice worth living.
This is a path onto total bliss.

Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Life

BeliefsWhat do you believe in?

Does it propel you forward or keep you trapped in the past? Does it gift you joy or lock you in pain? Does it let you take desired action or paralyse you with fears?

Understanding about beliefs, how they affected me and changing my limiting beliefs was one of the key transformative tool for me. That was about 8 or 9 years ago? And to-date, it remains an important tool for inner awareness and change.

Your beliefs are like the operating system to your brain. They are one of the primary filters that determine what you delete and what you pay attention to. They determine how you perceive and interpret your experiences.
Beliefs act as self fulfilling prophecies. They act as permissions as well as blocks to what we can do. They have to be acted on if they are to mean anything; therefore beliefs are principles of action, not empty ideals.

Non useful beliefs are called limiting beliefs eg “I am stupid”, “I am a failure”, “I’m lousy at Maths”, “Life is painful/ difficult”, “I’ll always be a failure”, “I suck at relationships”.

Beliefs are never absolutely true. For every belief, there is always a counter belief.

A client of mine held a limiting belief that he does not make a good partner after his ex-wife decided to leave him. As he went on a healing journey of awareness, change and action, he formed new powerful beliefs for a new phase of life. Today, he is happily remarried with a beautiful daughter.
Another client of mine could not see herself progressing in her career and felt that she could only be a sales executive. After a change of mindset and beliefs held, she is now a GM. A position she would never have dared to dream about when she held onto her limiting beliefs. The change happen within a short span of a few years. A big transformative (and I would happy!) leap for her.
Awareness of the beliefs you consciously or subconsciously hold is a great start to understanding yourself better. And a key to making any changes desired.
There are many literature available on change work involving beliefs. Or you might find it useful to engage a coach or therapist to journey with you.


Jack of all Trades, A Master of 10

While flipping though The Peak, an interview with Jeffrey Seah, South-east Asia CEO of global brand communications group Starcom Mediavest caught my eye.

Jack of all Trades“My hope is that every Singaporean will be a jack of all trades and a master of 10. It is not easy to be an all-rounder, as everyone wants to excel in one particular field. Having this awareness and a positive reaction to such stimuli will be the true application of Darwinism. The marketing and communications industry in Singapore will benefit with such mindsets.”

What an interesting positive spin on an adage that could be perceived as a limiting statement and belief!

When someone has a multitude of interests and skills sets, they are often encouraged to focus so that they can master one or two of them. But there are some of us who simply enjoy learning new skills and acquiring new portfolios and hats.

Take for example, my publisher Kok Hwa from Candid Creation Publishing. 4 years after our first meeting, he is now an Action Learning Coach as well as a trainer with his own workshop ‘So You Want to Be an Author?’. The expansion and continuous mastery of new trades have opened up new opportunities and an exciting new world for him.

Singapore’s ‘Mother Teresa’, the late Teresa Hsu who passed on in 2011 aged 113 is another example. At aged 47, she enrolled and was accepted into a three- year nursing course in London meant for students under 25. At 67, she founded one of the first home for the aged sick in Singapore in the 1960s where she worked until she was 85 years old. She picked up yoga at the age of 69 and started teaching it to the young and old at temples, associations, hospitals and schools. Truly inspiring!

And there are many other examples.

The key operative word here is mastery. It is not simply a shallow interest or shallow application but a deep desire to delve as deep as possible, and apply the new skills to its best possible use whether for one’s personal development or the betterment of the world around us. An on-going attitude of curious and open learning not limited by age nor the naysayers surrounding us.

It makes life all the richer for ourselves, and those around us.

3 Reflective Activities to Usher in 2015

Hello 2015If we celebrate the years behind us they become stepping-stones of strength and joy for the years ahead.

It is two days before the dawn of 2015. A perfect time for reflection in preparation for a brand new year.

Here are three suggestions for reflective activities:

What Would You Like 2015 to be Like?

For the past few years, I have set a new year resolution for example, my resolution for 2014 is to be anchored in bliss, feel bliss, gift bliss and be bliss. While people often cite that resolutions do not work, and studies show that most people fail, I believe that resolutions can work for you if you decide to be guided by it as much as possible. I did not feel pressured nor restricted by it so it became easier to follow.

I used to set specific goals but since 2011, I started to set intentions instead which works very well for me. The intentions provide a ‘roadmap’ for what you want to do, to be and to have. For those of you who work better with setting specific goals, please do so. Utilise the system which works best for you. 🙂

Tip 1: when you are setting your resolution and intentions, please feel happy and joyous doing it so that you are amplifying happy energies!

Tip 2: State what you want and not what you do not want.

What Makes You Happy?

For those of you who are in a stormy period of your life, perhaps this reflective exercise of knowing what makes you happy would be useful.

If you do not know what would make you happy then most likely, you will find yourself caught in an endless web of unhappiness. If you do not know what would make you happy, then it is challenging or near impossible for anyone else in your life to help give a little nudge.

If you are feeling unhappy right now, take some time off for yourself. Have a cup of tea or coffee, relax and then start thinking about what would make you happy. If your mind starts to go “but I can’t achieve that”, “how can I get that” etc, STOP and bring your attention back to what would make you happy.

During the session, if your mind is a blank when it comes to what would make you happy, then that’s an important realisation and insight for you isn’t it? If that happens, then recognise your new insight and start to focus on the future.

For those who are experiencing severe pain and this is an impossible exercise to do…be brave to seek and accept help. Confide in a friend or make an appointment to speak with a counsellor, coach or therapist. Everyone deserves to live a life of joy and dignity.

Creating Your Dream Boards

In 2007,my dear friend M encouraged me to put up my vision (dream) boards – not just the typical one that most people do but three separate boards for me to paste pictures of the things I’d like to be doing, having and being.

The boards forced me to reflect on what I truly wanted in life at that given point in time (you have to think before you put stuff up!), allowed me to dream bigger and gave me that extra dosage of sunshine when I felt down.

Bit by bit, month by month, year by year… what I like to be doing, having and being became a manifested reality. Some quicker, while some took a wee longer. The boards helped me to creatively energetically Visual-Realise my dreams while embarking on the many learning journeys helped to accelerate the transformation of my life.

Instead of 3 boards, you could combine them into one. Besides pictures, you can also include written words or phrases. You can review and change your board(s) along the way.

A Thankful Heart Allows Change

Thankful HeartLast week, during a coaching session for a client, this reflection question popped up for her: What does it mean for you to have a thankful heart?

She is going through probably the fiercest hardest storm to-date. She’s been bruised and battered by the hard winds and shivered for countless nights. But through it all, she’s found refuge and sanctuary and, an inner strength and resilience. Above all, she has been able (with great determination and discipline) to maintain a strong sense of calm. Releasing of hatred and anger is the goal she is working towards.

It is not easy being my client because at the onset of our journey together, I tell them that my role is not to sugar coat nor am I in a popularity contest. My role is to be a catalyst in the transformational journey and that means facing hard truths at times. It also means accepting and taking action on recommendations even if it is something that throws them out of their comfort zone. Or something that is painful for them to do. For those with perseverance and willingness to do what it takes, there is always positive changes.

In my client’s case, she was what the world would perceive as the ‘victim’ in the situation. So the question I posed to her was not an easy one. But she graciously and openly accepted the reflective task for this period of Christmas in preparation for a new fresh start in 2015.

It is also a question that I have taken on for my own self-reflection and preparation for a brand new year. And it is a question that I think would benefit many.

In his book Hardwiring Happiness, neuropsychologist Dr Rick Hanson shared about the importance of regularly taking in the good to create neural pathways we need for well being. Unless we pay mindful, sustained attention to them, most positive experiences flow through our brains like water through a sieve. The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.

If that it the case, then having a thankful heart would also allow us to create positive neural pathways as well as a healthy heart.

What does it mean for you to have a thankful heart?

I am still reflecting on the question and it has been liberating to explore some of the pathways that my heart takes me to. To savour each new insight and thought. Much to think about and lots of experiences to reframe. All which is useful and beneficial for moving ahead.

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