Why do I want to write about things so personal to me in a “professional blog”? I want to because I believe people need to know me in order to trust me with all of them, because that’s what I am going to ask of them. People need to know what kind of person they’re paying to help guide them in their life. I believe that what I do professionally and how I conduct myself as a life coach, the values that I have, the honesty I put forth, the realness and passion is just the same as I am in “everyday life”. I am who you see all the time, and my wife, Talia will tell you the same.
The concept of being real and true to myself, and accepting exactly who I am came to me while I was in high school. I was that “model citizen”, student athlete, and role model. But, more than that, because I was an Asian American, I beat the odds. I grew up in a small town in northwest Iowa, Storm Lake, where I participated in every sport you could think of, volleyball, basketball, track, softball and even dabbled in wrestling. I was the student council class president, a member of the choir, future homemakers of America, the Mayor’s diversity council, and was even part of the Governor’s Youth Leadership Mentoring Conference Planning Committee. You name it, I was probably on it. I was loving life, I had friends, was social, everyone knew who I was, young and old, and I had a good standing in the community. But something felt wrong about that because I was holding a secret.
I knew there was something different about me for as long as I could remember. I knew that I didn’t think about girls the same way as other girls thought about girls. I knew that I was different, and I knew what that meant. I was gay. But what do I do? I cannot tell anyone, I cannot let my good standing and my role model status be jeopardized by the fact that I was a girl who liked girls. Storm Lake is also a small town with a little bit of diversity, but to my knowledge there was not ONE SINGLE gay person in a 100 mile radius of my small town, and that was scary! There was no way I was going to let anyone know my secret. No way. No how. So my Junior year in high school I decided that I would not “come out” until I went to college. Because a bigger town and college seemed to be an environment that was a lot more accepting of someone like me. But over the course of the school year I felt like I was living a lie. People loved me for whom they thought I was, but I started to question, would they still love me if they knew this about me? Would I still receive the same warm welcome everywhere I went? Would I still be respected as a leader and role model in the community?
The fall of my Senior year, I earned a full scholarship to attend Buena Vista University, located approximately 13 blocks from my house. I was happy and thrilled, thinking I’ll never have to worry about paying for college EVER! But the cost of living years with a secret was too much for me to take. I had built up the courage to put everything I’ve worked for at risk, and let people know my secret. If they loved me and respected who I was, they would still be my friends, and my family will always be there for me. My friends kept asking if I’d take the scholarship, and if not, why? Then I told my closest friends my secret, I.Am.Gay…and just like that my secret was out. I felt that same support and respect with my friends and my family,even more so now. My secret spread like wildfire and everyone within a 60 mile radius knew, and I was ok with that. My friends were still my friends and my family was still my family. The following summer of 2001, RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) hit Storm Lake. The town voted me as one of the most interesting people in Storm Lake, among about 20 others, and a silhouette cutout of me was placed on the courthouse lawn for all visitors to see.
From that day when I came out, I vowed to live my life to the fullest intent and never take a day for granted. Live the life to which it is meant to be and to not be afraid to take risks. Because without taking some risk, you may never know what awaits you on the other side. That's why I am a life coach, I want that for people. I genuinely want people to want to experience life in a totally honest and real way. I want to see through the challenges that people face in life, and when you're lost, give the direction. I want to be the biggest cheerleader, the biggest advocate and be someone that inspires you to be your best .
As a life coach, that is my mission. Helping people become the best them. Challenging clients in a different way, using inspiration, motivation, honesty and communication as a basis for my coaching But I know that I will not be successful if I do not get the same in return from each and every individual that walks through my door. So here’s my first move, are you ready to take yours?