isabelle thye

I’ve never thought 2017 would turn out this way

I caught up with a friend right before the year ended.

After telling him what I had been through this year and what I’m working on, he told me that I had a good life.

He made me think.

I started 2017 with nothing
After withdrawing from my first venture, I went back home, back to having nothing in life. Without a company at my back, a job title, a career, I got to learn about myself by detaching life from everything else.

People who matter didn’t see me differently. I realised how much I had when I was at rock bottom of life.

I took on a ‘good opportunity’ and suffered emotionally
After 1 month at home, I came back to the city. Without knowing what’s next, I came across an offer to set up and operate a café. I was in a good environment, surrounded by nice people, given authority to do my thing.

But ‘operation’ sucked life out of me, it just wasn’t who I am. 3 months there, I learned that good opportunity takes you away from the right opportunity if you don’t know what you want.

I closed a book deal and started a company
I was referred to a consultant who wanted to publish a book by friend. The first time I met him, I was upfront about my lack of experience in book publishing and my full-time commitment in managing a cafe. He liked my passion in writing and decided to work with me on the spot.

Meeting him was a pivotal event that gave me confidence to set up a content solutions company, Future Shapers Consulting.

Writing is not my passion?
As I write more and more corporate contents, I couldn’t say that I’m passionate about writing anymore. These jobs paid my bills but meant little to me. I started to ask myself, what does writing mean to me? Why do I write? What kind of content do I want to produce?

I learned that my passion didn’t become work, the difference is that my passion and work requires the same action – to write.

I overcame ego and asked for something I rejected the first time
In the beginning of the year, I missed an opportunity to work with my mentor when I settled with managing a café. After months of writing, I realized that I needed guidance and a bigger challenge to rise up to.

When the pain of not extending my edge became far bigger than the pain of being rejected, I pushed my ego aside and made the ask. My mentor took me in his new projects.

Along with my mentor, doing business in China is the most unique and unexpected experience I had this year. We had to adapt ourselves to Chinese culture in gifting, hosting, and drinking. Most talks were done on dinner table. As guests, we were often toasted rounds and rounds with Mao Tai. Staying true to our Chinese root, it’s always relationship first, business later.

My book is turning into reality
Even though I had been toying with the idea of publishing a book for some time, the long publishing process that I hadn’t quite figured out deterred me from doing it. When I was introduced to a writer friend and discovered our common interest in publishing book, we jumped into book project together without second thought.

Having a partner standing by my side and marching with me towards the destination, publishing a book suddenly became less daunting and totally doable.

Not a good life, but a life well lived
2017 sounded like a good story to my friend, but he didn’t see the dark places I went through when I consistently hit those bumps.

Every pivot and decisions I made came from hard questions and deep struggle. With every new challenge, I could only hope that I was right and believe in myself.

I didn’t feel like living a ‘good life’ but looking back at where I started the year, it was definitely a life well lived.

From nothing to building a new venture that truly represents who I am, I finally understand how it feels like to want something so badly that I will give everything I have.

If there’s one word to describe what last year was all about, it’s ‘exploration’.

Crossing from 2017 to 2018, I realised that all my adventures, aspirations, and ambitions didn’t matter as much as having my family members around me.

With love and gratitude, I thanked life for being kind to me.

I’m here to create, to give, to love.

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